Police weighing criminal charges after baby girl killed by falling wall struck by runaway car

One-year-old Pearl Melody Black, daughter of contestant on BBC talent show The Voice, killed in freak accident caused by roll-away Range Rover in August

Johanna Carr
Wednesday 04 October 2017 14:57 BST
Pearl Melody Black
Pearl Melody Black (PA)

Police are investigating whether criminal charges should be brought after a one-year-old girl was killed when an unattended Range Rover rolled down a driveway and into a wall, an inquest has heard.

Pearl Melody Black, the daughter of a tattoo artist who appeared on TV talent show The Voice, died after the vehicle rolled across a road and demolished a wall that fell on to her in Heolgerrig, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, on Sunday 6 August.

On Wednesday a pre-inquest review at Aberdare Coroner's Court heard police were investigating whether criminal charges should be brought.

Police Constable Tony Farr said officers had taken statements from eyewitnesses, the emergency services and had carried out door-to-door inquiries.

“At this point we have not interviewed the driver of the Range Rover Andrew Williams,” he said.

The officer said Mr Williams, who was a long-distance lorry driver, would be interviewed.

PC Farr said CCTV and ANPR cameras were being looked at to “establish a timeline of the vehicle prior to the collision and its movements”.

He added: “As you are aware we have conducted a series of mechanical examinations on the Range Rover which have included tests on the braking efficiency.”

At an earlier hearing the court heard the automatic transmission of the Range Rover, which was stationary on a driveway, was believed to be in park at the time, with the handbrake fully applied.

Coroner Andrew Barkley adjourned the hearing to December 8 for a further review.

He told Pearl's father Paul Black: “There is an ongoing police investigation into a potential criminal matter that is of course subject to investigation and then subject to a decision by the CPS.

“If there were to be a criminal charge then ordinarily the inquest would not be resumed.”

He said in that case the assumption was that whatever the inquest would achieve would be dealt with in the criminal court.

Speaking outside the coroner's court Mr Black said: “My wife and I are just... it's beyond words how upset we are.

“We are literally not living day by day, we are living hour by hour.

“There's not a second that goes by in our lives that we don't think of our darling little girl and to have it brought up in this way this morning it seems very, very real with all the legalities beginning.”

Mr Black, who is well known as a singer and entertainer in the village and who once joked he was Sir Tom Jones' son when he appeared on the BBC show in 2014, said the family would never have the lives they had had and described Pearl as an “enormous part of our lives”.

He added: “If I may briefly just thank the borough of Merthyr Tydfil for embracing us and putting their arms around us and the outpouring of love from different charity events from musicians and to walkers to motorcyclists to just passers-by, I just can't thank people enough.”


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