Child's fall from Range Rover was an accident, inquest told

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The Independent Online
A TODDLER who died after falling from his mother's lap out of their Range Rover was the victim of a tragic combination of circumstances, an inquest was told yesterday.

Callum Hadley suffered head injuries in the accident near the family home in Allenton, Derby two months ago. Derby and South Derbyshire coroner Peter Ashworth recorded a verdict of accidental death after hearing how the nearside door catch on the 24-year-old vehicle was difficult to close.

But, because it was a heavy door, it could easily give the impression of being shut when it was not. Just before the tragedy, 19-month-old Callum had been crying and was transferred from his car seat in the back to his mother's lap in the front passenger seat for the final few hundred yards of the journey to pick up other children from school.

Callum's parents, Jason Hadley and Paula Oakley, were returning from a shopping trip to buy last-minute things for their wedding, just a few days later. The inquest in Derby heard the couple had since married and now live in Windsor, where Mr Hadley, a soldier, is stationed.

He told the court he was driving when he heard Paula scream and realised something was wrong. "At that moment I did not think Callum was injured ... I did not think he could ever die ... it was probably naive of me but he was one of those kids ... he was really rough and tumble and I thought she was going to pick him up and he would have had a scratch".

The hearing was told there was minor subsidence from previous road works which may have caused a slight bump which loosened the door.After the accident the Hadleys took Callum to the Derby Royal Infirmary. A post- mortem examination showed he suffered a fractured skull.