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Parents' upset following verdict of accidental death in Tommy Hollis inquest

The parents of Tommy Hollis give their reaction following a verdict of accidental death at their son's inquest.

Photograph of Chris and Kate Hollis with their son Tommy

16 May 2012

The parents of Tommy Hollis the one-year-old boy who was killed when a lamppost fell on the buggy he was in, have given a powerful statement outside the inquest into their son's death at West London Coroner's Court.

After thanking the press for their consideration during the inquest, Tommy's mother Kate Hollis said outside the court:

"We came here knowing it would be an extremely challenging time for us. However, we did not expect our upset and anguish to be compounded by what we feel was the coroner's decision to exclude from consideration questions and evidence that might lead us to better understand how our son, Tommy, was killed in February 2010.

"We feel let down that crucial witnesses were not called or declined to answer questions. In particular, Kelvin Elmore, who cut the plate, chose not to give evidence and explain to the Court, in person, why he did what he did.

"Also, Hounslow Borough Council, under whose control these works were carried out, have been notably absent from these proceedings.

"We would also like know why there was no engineer on site at or around the time of the cut to the lamp post when it was apparent that the job was becoming more complicated; and how no one realised that the plate was connected to the lamp post despite it being so close.

"We know that nothing will bring back Tommy but we hope that by continuing to try to find the answers this court failed to find, nothing like it can ever happen again."

Sally Moore, Head of Personal Injury at Leigh Day & Co, the lawyer who is representing Mr and Mrs Hollis said:

"My clients have been through the most traumatic experience imaginable, the loss of a child is without equal in all our nightmares. We will continue to ask the questions we believe were missed by this inquest.

"These questions include: Why, when all involved realised this was no longer a straight forward job, there wasn't a qualified engineer from London Borough of Hounslow coordinating and supervising the works. This was their lamppost, their street works outside their town hall.

"Indeed, no qualified engineer from any organisation was involved in decision making when it became apparent that this part of the works had many obstacles and the scope had to be changed. Kevin Elmore was not an engineer.

How could so many people not realise that the metal plate and lamp post base were not connected? The cut to the plate was barely 30 cm (the length of a school ruler) from the lamp post base and the plate lead directly to it.

"Who will accept some responsibility for Tommy's death? This week we have seen all parties: London Borough of Hounslow, McNicholas, Virgin Media and Aecom, implicitly or explicitly point the finger of blame at each other.

Ms Moore concluded:

"Legal action will be pursued against those responsible for the death of Tommy Hollis."

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    Fatal injuries and Inquests

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    Sally Moore

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