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Three-year-old boy was strangled to death on a slide

Little Blake William Graves (pictured) died in hospital the day after the accident at his family home in Crook, County Durham

A toddler was strangled by his own T-shirt after it became entangled at the top of a slide he was playing on in his back garden.

Three-year-old Blake William Graves died in hospital the day after the accident at his family home in Crook, County Durham.

An inquest held at Crook Civic Centre heard how the youngster’s T-shirt got caught on a screw that had been used to fix a handle at the top of the slide and was protruding just 6mm.

As he tried to go down the slide the garment acted as a ligature on his neck and arms, which would have put pressure on his neck and stopped him breathing.

Blake had been playing in the front garden of his family home in Larchfield Gardens on July 9 last year with his little sister and mother before the youngsters moved to the back garden.

His mother took the girl inside and, though her view was at times obscured by a dog kennel, watched Blake from a window.

Detective Inspector Neil Jones, of Durham Police, told the hearing that Blake’s death was a tragic accident.

CCTV footage from a neighbouring property showed Blake had been in the rear garden just short of 20 minutes before his mother ran out of the side door of the house into the back garden.

She was then seen carrying the tot, who was not breathing and no longer wearing his top, in her arms.

She called for a help and a neighbour tried to resuscitate the boy until an ambulance arrived and took him to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough.

He died there in the early hours of the following morning.

Det Insp Jones said: ‘What was quite clear was the slide is a good few years old, with wear and tear it had been knocked about a bit and many repairs had been cobbled together to keep it going for the kids to play on.

‘The one remaining handle is where the repair had been done.

‘I understand why, with a wood screw, to keep the handle sturdy for children climbing up to grab onto.

‘Unfortunately, the screw protruded 6mm from the original area.’

The mother called for a help and a neighbour tried to resuscitate the boy until an ambulance arrived and took him to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough (pictured)

The mother called for a help and a neighbour tried to resuscitate the boy until an ambulance arrived and took him to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough (pictured)

The inquest heard that the slide was designed to have countersunk fixings so originally everything would have been smooth so there was nothing clothing could be snagged on.

On the day of the tragedy, the back of the slide was lifted slightly off the ground using a child’s trampoline as the youngsters had previously used it to slide into a paddling pool at the bottom.

Det Insp Jones said unfortunately the elevated degree would have increased the pressure from Blake’s bodyweight.

Jeremy Chipperfield, the senior coroner for the County Durham and Darlington, said a post-mortem examination showed Blake was a healthy boy who died as a result of asphyxiation and pressure to the neck.

Mr Chipperfield concluded that Blake died as a result of a tragic accident during play in the garden of his home in Crook.

He said: ‘Blake was playing on a slide when his t-shirt became caught on a screw which was protruding from the top of the slide and acted as a ligature, suspending him from the top of the slide.

‘Should Blake’s family ever hear this, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to you. I’m sorry for your loss.’ 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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