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Schoolgirl dies in Norfolk PE lesson after catching foot on pommel horse

Inquest hears how Trevyn Joslin had a pre-existing neck condition which some staff were not told about – but that this did not contribute to her death

A schoolgirl in Norfolk has died after falling from a pommel horse during a PE lesson, an inquest has heard.

Trevyn Hope Joslin, 12, had a pre-existing neck condition which limited her capacity to do some sports, including gymnastics – and an administrative oversight meant some staff-members had not been told.

On 12 March this year, an ambulance was called to the gymnasium at Taverham High School after Trevyn injured herself on the apparatus during a “basic flight” class.

Other pupils initially thought she was winded, but teachers quickly rushed to help and administered CPR. She was taken to hospital, but died a week later.

Pathologists at Norfolk Coroner’s Court nonetheless said the injuries sustained in the fall could have killed somebody with an “anatomically normal” neck, and after Norfolk Police and the Health and Safety Executive both found no evidence of any failings, a jury concluded Trevyn’s was an accidental death.

Assistant coroner David Osborne said: “A young life when lost is extremely difficult and I would offer my condolences to the family.”

PE teacher and assistant head Shirley Naisby described how she had organised the gym class.

She said Trevyn was “confident, enthusiastic and one of the better gymnasts in the class”.

“In the last 10 or 15 minutes, the students could select which piece of equipment they wanted to go on and Trevyn selected the horse,” Ms Naisby said.

“She had a few successful jumps then went to make another.

“She ran up perfectly well but as she jumped her right foot caught the front-end of the horse and she tumbled forward and landed face down on the matt almost in the recovery position.

“Some of her friends were close to her and gathered around where she had fallen. One of them said ‘Miss she's winded’.

“She was trying to mouth words but it was very difficult to hear what she was saying.”

An ambulance was called while staff tried to provide first aid, with Lynne Hammond, the school's pastoral care supervisor, administering CPR.

She said: “I was struggling to accept the reality of the situation - you just want to believe a child is still breathing.”

The post-mortem examination found she died from a hyper-extension injury to the neck.

Trevyn's parents Derrick and Hannah did not comment as they left the inquest.

Additional reporting by PA