Father pays tribute to TV tragedy girl

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The Independent Online

A father who accidentally killed his daughter by dropping a television on her head tonight paid tribute to his "bright, clever girl".









Emily May Hughes, four, died on Christmas Day after a freak accident at her home the day before.



Her father Robert, a design engineer, did not know the little girl was beneath his feet as he struggled downstairs with a "heavy, deep, bulky," widescreen television.



He stumbled into her and dropped the set, pinning her down.



Emily was treated at hospital but died from a "catastrophic brain injury" that stopped her pulse and blood pressure, an inquest at Liverpool Coroner's Court heard today.



Tonight, issuing a statement from the family home in Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Mr Hughes and his wife, Louise, said: "Emily is part of a large, well-known local family here in Coedpoeth, her mother Louise has worked as a youth worker here for 10 years.



"We'd like to thank everyone for their support, including phone calls from round the world, flowers and cards.



"The funeral, on a date to be arranged, will be a celebration of her life.



"Emily was a bright, clever girl, well liked by everybody, caring and kind.



"She had a real talent for singing, and had done solos in the school concert just before Christmas.



"We will miss her, and will never forget her."



Christmas Eve had been a fun day for the family - visiting friends and shopping.



They bought a new television to replace the old one kept in the first floor living room.



Mr Hughes installed the set and carried the old one downstairs to the children's play area.



Emily liked to take the Nintendo DS she shared with her siblings to a quiet place to play it alone, the inquest was told.



She was lying down playing near the foot of the stairs unbeknown to her father.



In a report by North Wales Police, officers said Mr Hughes accidentally bumped into Emily.



It said: "Mr Hughes stubbed his foot on the child and fell forward with the large television unit.



"He completely lost balance, fell and tried to push the TV away from the child realising she was there but it landed on her head, pinning her.



"He immediately got it off her."



Mr Hughes carried Emily into the kitchen where his youth-worker wife phoned an ambulance.



The couple tried to resuscitate the youngster until paramedics arrived at 6.20pm.



Emily was taken to Wrexham Maelor Hospital and transferred to Liverpool's Alder Hey Hospital later that evening suffering from a lack of blood and oxygen to the brain.



Consultant Dr Jane Ratcliffe said Emily also sustained a head fracture in the accident.



She was certified dead at 10.20pm.



Emily was the youngest of four children, and went to Penygelli School and to the Salvation Army Sunday School in Coedpoeth, which family members have attended for many years.



Coroner Andre Rebello recorded a verdict of accidental death.



Mr Rebello said: "This was a tragic accident and this will always be a difficult time in the future with every Christmas.



"It is every parent's worst nightmare for their child's funeral to take place before their own.



"I hope the family can recover from this tragedy and celebrate the joy of Emily's life.



"Emily will not have suffered and not have known about this injury.



"I pass on my sincere condolences to the family."

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