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The Voice contestant screamed ‘She’s gone!’ after his toddler daughter was killed

Pearl Melody Black died from her injuries after the brick wall collapsed on top of her as she walked home from the park with her father and baby brother

The father of a toddler killed by a runaway Range Rover has described seeing his daughter crushed ‘like a Coke can’, at an emotional coroners’ hearing. 

Pearl Melody Black suffered catastrophic injuries when a 2.6-ton SUV rolled down a driveway and pinned her to a wall in front of her distraught father.

Paul Black, 49, who recalled begging his daughter to ‘come back to Daddy’ as he picked through rubble, described seeing ‘the life draining from her beautiful brown eyes,’ despite fighting desperately to save her. 

‘She was literally limp and lifeless. I was screaming ‘she’s gone, she’s gone, my poor baby girl’, Mr Black said at Glamorgan Coroners’ Court today.

Now the family are pushing for a prosecution against Andrew Williams, who admitted not securing the hand break properly but is protected from criminal charges thanks to a legal loophole.

The Black family’s solicitor Richard Langdon said after the hearing they would be asking the Crown Prosecution Service for a review of the case.

He said: ‘It appears to us there is a prospect of bringing a prosecution for gross negligence manslaughter as a result of the evidence that was given today.’ 

Pearl was with Paul, a former contestant on The Voice, and her eight-month-old brother Ace when the tragedy happened in August 2017, having spent the morning playing in the park.  

Pearl was with her singer Paul, 49, and her eight-month-old brother Ace when the tragedy happened in August 2017, having spent the morning playing in the park. The runaway Range Rover crashed into a wall which collapsed on the 22-month-old killing her

Pearl was with her singer Paul, 49, and her eight-month-old brother Ace when the tragedy happened in August 2017, having spent the morning playing in the park. The runaway Range Rover crashed into a wall which collapsed on the 22-month-old killing her

The inquest heard the handbrake had only been pulled up ‘two notches’ – not enough to secure it.

An investigation discovered the automatic Range Rover had not been left in ‘park’, allowing it to roll down a steep driveway. 

Mr Black said today a ‘loophole’ in the law which exempts Mr Williams from criminal prosecution because the runaway vehicle began its journey on private land before crashing in public means they have been prevented from getting justice for their daughter.   

Mr Black said today a 'loophole' in the law which exempts Mr Williams from criminal prosecution because the runaway vehicle began its journey on private land before crashing in public means they have been prevented from getting justice for their daughter

Mr Black said today a ‘loophole’ in the law which exempts Mr Williams from criminal prosecution because the runaway vehicle began its journey on private land before crashing in public means they have been prevented from getting justice for their daughter

The family is being backed by Merthyr Tydfil MP Gerald Jones who plans to introduce a Private Members bill in the House of Commons to get the law changed. 

The inquest heard ‘angelic’ Pearl was carrying a doll when the dark blue 4×4 rolled down the driveway of Williams’s ex-partner’s home 15 minutes after he parked it.

Mr Black, dressed in a black suit with a red rose in his lapel, said the vehicle caught Pearl and snatched her out of his grasp. 

He told the court: ‘Pearl had just started to walk – I was holding her hand saying ‘Tight, tight tight’, in case there was anything coming up the road.

Father Paul said Pearl (pictured) 'was every single star in every single sky'

Tattooist Paul and his wife Gemma, 38, said at the time of the tragedy: ‘Pearl was every single star in every single sky. She was as bright as the stars, when she looked at you with those eyes and she would melt your heart’

‘I then heard the rumbling of rubber on tarmac. I could see the vehicle coming towards us. I shouted: ‘Whoa, whoa’.

‘I said: ‘Watch where you are going you stupid ***.’ 

He threw his baby son to the ground as he was hit by the vehicle himself. Mr Black said: ‘It was like a scene from a horror film.

‘I looked and saw the life going from her face, the life draining from her beautiful brown eyes.

‘I was saying: ‘Come back to daddy, come back to daddy. She was literally limp and lifeless. I was screaming: ‘She’s gone, she’s gone, my poor baby girl.’

Pearl’s heartbroken mother Gemma was not in the court because her husband has tried to protect her from the horror of the accident. 

Long distance lorry driver Williams had owned the automatic Range Rover for four years using it as a runaround and to pick up his daughte on Sundays.

He told police at the scene the vehicle was left in ‘park’ and the hand brake was ‘fully applied’.

Driver Andrew Williams told police he didn't pull the handbrake right up - using just enough force to secure the 2.6 tonne vehicle. The inquest heard the handbrake had only been pulled up 'two notches' - not enough to secure it

Driver Andrew Williams told police he didn’t pull the handbrake right up – using just enough force to secure the 2.6 tonne vehicle. The inquest heard the handbrake had only been pulled up ‘two notches’ – not enough to secure it

But in a formal interview later he told officers: ‘I pulled the handbrake up as far as I need to.

‘I had been told not to pull it up fully or it would stretch the cable.

‘To be honest I can’t remember – it was an automatic reaction. Having done it for so long, you just know what you are doing.’

Mr Williams said he couldn’t remember how many notches the hand brake was pulled up on the day of the tragedy.

The court heard he ‘assumed’ the vehicle had gone into ‘park’ when he left it outside his ex-partner’s bungalow in Heolgerrig, Merthyr Tydfil.

The Range Rover rolled down from the sloping driveway (top) to smash the wall (bottom) and kill Pearl

The Range Rover rolled down from the sloping driveway (top) to smash the wall (bottom) and kill Pearl

In an emotional explanation delivered to the court, Mr Black described seeing the Range Rover careering towards him and his two children.

‘I said “Daddy hand, tight, tight, tight”. I could then hear the rubber against the tarmac as I was looking down to take Pearl’s hand.

‘I looked up and I could see the vehicle coming towards me and building up speed. I shouted “woah”, I shouted “woah”.

‘I thought someone was in the vehicle at the time. The vehicle hit the wall. I threw Acer out of my right arm, I threw him into the road.

‘I tried to step in front of Pearl. I went for her coat but I wasn’t quick enough to throw her as well.

‘The Range Rover went up on to the road and proceeded to crush Pearl in front of me.

‘The severity of the impact and the weight of the wall – she was so small – it just dragged her coat out of my hand.

Flowers on the remains of a collapsed wall at a property in Heolgerrig, South Wales, where the one-year-old girl was killed after a Range Rover rolled into the wall causing it to collapse

Flowers on the remains of a collapsed wall at a property in Heolgerrig, South Wales, where the one-year-old girl was killed after a Range Rover rolled into the wall causing it to collapse

‘Some of the wall landed on my knee. Everything had come to a standstill. At that point I was the only person there. There was so much blood that it was like a scene from a horror film.

‘I could see the death appearing on her face. She died instantly. I pulled the wall off her and picked her up in my arms.

‘All I could feel was my arm pressing against my arm because she was limp and lifeless. I was completely covered in blood.’

Mr Black said neighbours placed a fleece on the floor and Pearl was laid on it, with an off-duty paramedic commencing CPR.

He found a hammer lying on the broken wall and smashed the windows of the Range Rover.

‘I was engulfed in pure anger and rage,’ he said.

Mr Black said he phoned his wife Gemma, who rushed to the scene believing that it was her husband’s stepfather who was injured.

Glamorgan Coroner Andrew Barkley described it as an 'unspeakable' tragedy. He said: 'The vehicle was out of control, with no driver - it was heading towards them'

Glamorgan Coroner Andrew Barkley described it as an ‘unspeakable’ tragedy. He said: ‘The vehicle was out of control, with no driver – it was heading towards them’

‘She saw our baby girl lying on a fleece coat, covered in blood,’ Mr Black said.

The singer and tattoo artist said he had first heard the Range Rover collide with the wall of the driveway it rolled down.

‘I tried to shield my children from it,’ he told the inquest.

‘The wall came down in a domino effect. It crushed her like a Coke can. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.’  

The inquest heard the driveway was steep but flattened out at the top where Mr Williams claimed he parked the Range Rover.

Richard Langdon, representing Pearl’s family, asked Mr Williams: ‘Do you have any explanation why the car rolled down the driveway?

He replied: ‘None at all.’

Police accident investigator Gareth Davies said the evidence was that the Range Rover had been left ‘insecure’.

He told the hearing: ‘If the handbrake was applied it would not have come down the drive in the first place. That would defy the laws of physics, it doesn’t make any sense.

‘The handbrake wasn’t fully applied, it was on two notches, and the car wasn’t in park.’

Mr Davies said tests on the vehicle found the wheels could move freely ‘with very little effort’ when the handbrake was pulled up for only two notches.

He added: ‘My concern is that the vehicles left insecure – that’s what the evidence is telling me.’

The inquest heard the vehicle was well maintained, had a valid MOT and the hand brake met legal standards.

Williams’s schoolgirl daughter Katie Price said in a statement that her father had pulled on the the handbrake after they had been shopping together.

She was in the house with her parents who were checking charity raffle tickets when they heard ‘a loud bang’.

Williams’s ex-partner paramedic Gillian Price, said: ‘I could see the Range Rover had smashed through the wall opposite.

‘I could see Paul Black holding a lifeless child to his chest.’

Mrs Price gave CPR to little Pearl until the energy services arrived.

The inquest in Pontypridd heard Mr Black began smashing the RangeRover with a hammer.

Neighbour Rebecca Davies said: ‘Paul looked to be in a panic, there were bits of wall all over the place.

‘Paul was shouting and screaming and golding the little girl to his chest.

‘I could see the little girl’s head was badly swollen and she wasn’t breathing.’

Tattooist Paul and his wife Gemma, 38, said at the time of the tragedy: ‘Pearl was every single star in every single sky.

‘She was as bright as the stars, when she looked at you with those eyes and she would melt your heart.

Flowers left at the scene where Pearl Black was hit by a car in Heolgerrig, Merthyr Tydfil Funeral of Pearl Black

Flowers left at the scene where Pearl Black was hit by a car in Heolgerrig, Merthyr Tydfil Funeral of Pearl Black

‘She was the reddest pearl in the ocean and the sweetest melody ever written.

‘She was the greatest dancer and she has left a massive hole in our hearts, the world will be a darker place without her.’

Paul appeared on The Voice in 2015 joking that he was the son of Sir Tom Jones.

He also put on an American accent to convince judge Will.i.am that he was from the United States.

Pearl’s white coffin was taken by horse drawn hearse for three miles through MerthyrTydfil with hundreds of people lining the route to say their goodbyes to the little girl.

Paul, who carried her into the chapel, said later: ‘She was so intelligent, so clever, and so funny. That is why I wanted an extravagant send off because I always said she was going to be a star.’ 

Glamorgan Coroner Andrew Barkley described it as an ‘unspeakable’ tragedy.

Mr Barkley recorded a narrative verdict that Pearl died as a result of an accident

Mr Barkley recorded a narrative verdict that Pearl died as a result of an accident

He said: ‘The vehicle was out of control, with no driver – it was heading towards them.

‘The gear lever was not in the correct position – not in park.

‘It was in a midway point between park and neutral in what has been described as a false neutral position.

‘The handbrake had not been applied in any way to hold the vehicle.

‘Mr Williams did not count the number of clicks, sadly it was not sufficient to secure the vehicle on the driveway.

‘It started to creep down the slope due to the force of gravity – it was out of control with the terrible and devastating consequences we have heard today.

‘The issue here is driver operation, rather than any mechanical fault with the vehicle.

Paul was a contestant on BBC show The Voice where singers compete against each other in front of established stars including Tom Jones

Paul was a contestant on BBC show The Voice where singers compete against each other in front of established stars including Tom Jones

‘This is vey much an issue of driver error. No one can help be touched by this sad tragedy.’

Mr Barkley recorded a narrative verdict that Pearl died as a result of an accident.

Mr Williams could not be prosecuted because the 15-year-old Range Rover was parked in a private driveway.

The Black family’s solicitor Richard Langdon said after the hearing they would be asking he Crown Prosecution Service for a review of the case.

He said: ‘It appears to us there is a prospect of bringing a prosecution for gross negligence manslaughter as a result of the evidence that was given today.’

Paul and his wife, of Heolgerrig, Merthyr Tydfil, have had a baby since the tragedy.

The inquest, in Pontypridd, continues. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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