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Boy, four, killed instantly after concrete post fell on his head in tragic accident, inquest hears

The four-year-old boy died instantly when a concrete pole collapsed on him after his mother, a university professor, brought him and his friend home from soccer practice, according to the investigation.

  • Boy, four, killed instantly after a concrete pole fell on him in his own front yard
  • Leopold Mercer was playing with his friend after coming back from soccer practice.
  • Emergency services performed CPR for 42 minutes without any response

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A four-year-old boy died instantly just weeks after starting school when a heavy garden pole collapsed on top of him, an inquest has heard.

Leopold Mercer was swinging on an iron gate in his garden with a friend after soccer training when tragedy struck at his home in Hanbury, Worcestershire, on September 18.

His parents, university professors Eva Frickel and Jason Mercer, heard the other boy shout ‘Leo’ and instantly knew something was wrong, the Worcestershire Coroner’s Court was told.

The couple frantically tried to resuscitate Leopold before emergency crews arrived.

West Midlands Ambulance Service paramedics and Midlands Air Ambulance medics continued CPR, but with no response after 42 minutes, Leopold was pronounced dead at the scene.

Leopold Mercer Was Swinging On An Iron Gate In His Garden With A Friend After Football Training When Tragedy Struck At His Home In Hanbury, Worcestershire, On September 18.

Leopold Mercer was swinging on an iron gate in his garden with a friend after football training when tragedy struck at his home in Hanbury, Worcestershire, on September 18.

Dr. Frickel described to the court how she had just driven the two boys back from soccer practice on Sunday when they got out of the car and were hanging on an iron gate by the driveway.

Moments later, a concrete pole fell on the boy’s head at 11:48 am. A post mortem examination found that Leopold died from a traumatic head and neck injury.

Dr Frickel said: ‘Leopold had only been at school for a couple of weeks and was a happy, outgoing boy. In the driveway, there are a series of pillars in a semicircle and one pillar has a garden gate attached to it.

The boys got out of the car and went to play. I had just moved the car onto the grass when I heard the other boy yell ‘Leo’ and I knew by the sound that something was wrong.

I ran around and saw him under the pillar that had collapsed. It was so heavy that I couldn’t move it.

Dr. Frickel recalled how Leopold’s father ran out of the house and struggled to lift his son’s pillar before beginning CPR as she dialed 999.

She told the December 1 audience: “It wasn’t long until I heard a helicopter and sirens, but everything from then on is pretty blurry.”

Dr Frickel

Dr Frickel

Professor Mercer

Professor Mercer

His parents, college professors Eva Frickel and Jason Mercer, heard the other boy yell “Leo” and instantly knew something was wrong.

Since the tragedy, the mother said she had spoken to Leopold’s friend and he had told her they were “hanging on the same side of the door” when the pillar fell. The other child suffered minor injuries and was taken to the hospital to be checked out.

Dr. Frickel, a scientist, also issued a heartbreaking statement on Twitter about her family’s ordeal, stating that her heart would be “forever broken.”

I hope we can find a way forward as a family in Leo’s ‘always smiling’ spirit. And I hope to create a positive impact for us, our friends and Leo’s and maybe one day even further afield.

‘I’m still a scientist in my head, but my heart is forever broken. Grief over the loss of a child occupies a permanent place in his life.

‘Life is unfair. You cannot be sure that you will live tomorrow.

Dr Christopher Hamilton, a Midlands Air Ambulance medic who attended the incident, said: “Leopold was lying in the driveway next to a fallen brick gatepost and metal gate.” Paramedics said Leo was unresponsive when they arrived.

“He appeared to have a very extensive head injury that was likely a devastating brain injury and severe maxillofacial fractures, among other things.”

Pathologist Dr. Andrew Bamber reported that a traumatic head and neck injury caused death.

Dr Bamber said: “The catastrophic head injury was consistent with blunt force trauma and was likely instantly fatal.”

West Mercia Police officers investigated as a matter of routine and found “nothing sinister” about the circumstances, noting that “in their opinion it appeared to be a tragic accident,” said Chief Coroner David Reid.

Recording a finding of accidental death, Mr Reid said: “Leopold suffered a fatal head and neck injury when a brick door pillar fell on him while playing in his home and he died of his injuries in the place”. His death was due to an unnatural event of the collapse of a brick pillar.

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