Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Thursday, 7 August 2008 12:45 UK

Boy, 10, died 'playing on lorry'

Jordan Lee Widdall-Hughes
Jordan Lee Widdall-Hughes received fatal head injuries

A coroner has warned youngsters of the danger of playing on moving vehicles after a 10-year-old boy died after falling off the back of a lorry.

Jordan Lee Widdall-Hughes, from Newport in south Wales, fell onto the city's busy Southern Distributor Road (SDR).

An inquest heard he received head injuries and the coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He said it was "miraculous" two of Jordan's nine-year-old friends escaped injury after jumping from the lorry.

The inquest heard how Jordan, from the Pill area of the city, had got onto a lorry with his friends as it turned into a street.

He died at the Royal Gwent Hospital after suffering a fractured skull and brain damage.

Newport coroner David Bowen said he was satisfied the lorry driver had no way of knowing what the children were up to.

He said: "Even though a sense of adventure is a part of growing up - parents should stress to their children that jumping on moving vehicles is unacceptable, dangerous and potentially fatal."

The inquest heard that lorry was being driven by a German man, Matthias Krause. His wife Kornelia was a passenger.

Steve Baker of Rospa on the dangers of playing on busy roads

In statements read to the inquest, the couple said they stopped in Newport on 15 April to ask for directions as they made deliveries to a couple of Lidl stores in the UK.

Mrs Krause said in her statement that they turned the lorry around and noticed children playing on grass at the side of the road.

She said they once again went the wrong way and as they came back the same way they saw an ambulance and were directed away from the area where they had turned by police
The couple stopped in Newport overnight and police traced their lorry as having been involved in the accident.

Mr Krause told police he was "horrified, shocked and surprised" that a child had fallen from the back of his lorry.

Two of Jordan's nine-year-old friends were also interviewed by police.

One of them told officers they had gone to the "junk yard" to "jump on a lorry".

He said three of them jumped on the back of a lorry and he jumped off first, "otherwise I would have had to go over the new bridge".

Jordan was a victim of that cocktail found in many of his age - a thirst for adventure coupled with a complete lack of appreciation for danger
Newport coroner David Bowen
Another friend who watched the others jump on the lorry told police they had been holding on to metal bars on the rear doors.

Lynda Cullen, a nurse, had been travelling behind the lorry and described how she saw one child fall from the back while another continued holding on.

She said she stopped at the scene and found a faint pulse on the unconscious boy who had fallen and stayed with him until paramedics arrived.

Pc Keith Rich told the inquest it was "very unlikely" the lorry driver would have been able to see the boys on his vehicle.

He said he was not aware that children jumping on vehicles being a common occurrence in the city.

Jordan's mother, Emily Jones, told the inquest that her Carmarthen-born son, a Pill Junior School pupil had been "adventurous at times" but was the best behaved of her children.

'Potential risks'

Coroner Mr Bowen said it was "miraculous" that the two other boys on the lorry had escaped injury.

"Jordan was a victim of that cocktail found in many of his age - a thirst for adventure coupled with a complete lack of appreciation for danger and no thought of the risks or potential consequences of his escapade," he said.

Roger Vincent, spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa), encouraged parents to talk to their children about risks involved in play.

"We have heard of similar incidents to this case, be it children car surfing, train surfing, bus surfing. I have also heard of a case where children tied a skateboard to the back of a car. It's not a craze but we do hear of it happening from time to time," he said.

"We want children to enjoy the summer holidays and in some respects it is good for them to have the occasional scrape.

"But parents should explain potential risks and the consequences of their actions - not just say they cannot do something and frighten them."




SEE ALSO
Boy, 10, dies 'falling off lorry'
16 Apr 08 |  South East Wales


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