Harry was killed when the family car's handbrake failed. His mother Michelle Patterson explains.
On the day that Harry died I was running a theatre company class for children. Harry and his brother Dylan both came to the class and we had a very enjoyable session. On the way home we talked about what we were going to have for tea. Harry loved faggots and mash and peas. He was very excited to be having his tea.
We came up the drive of our home and I parked the car as I normally do. I got out the driver's seat and Dylan got out the passenger seat and I shouted "Come on Harry, come and get your tea".
I walked into the house and went to the kitchen to put on the food, that's when I heard Dylan shouting out from the window "Mummy, the car has rolled backwards". He said it in such a way that I thought he was joking or playing a prank, but when I looked out the living room window I could see that the car wasn't at the top of the drive anymore.
"I could see that Harry was at the bottom of the drive trapped between the wall and the car."
My initial thought was that Dylan was joking and whether any damage had been caused to the car. I ran out of the house and looked down the side of the car and I could see that Harry was at the bottom of the drive trapped between the wall and the car. I jumped into the car and thought "I have to focus. I have to move the car straight forward. I can't let this car go any further back," so that's what I did.
As I looked back I could see Harry had fallen to the floor and then all I could hear was the air ambulance coming and the wind. The paramedic came over, looked at Harry, scooped him up and ran down the road with him. There were lots of people around and I had blood all over me. I kept asking "Is he dead?"
I rang my husband Christian and he answered with such a happy voice but I knew at that moment I was about to change our world forever.
We went to the chapel of rest and all that seemed wrong with Harry was a mark on his face and a bandage on his head.
The inquest concluded that the cause of the accident was a combination of the incline of the drive and the cooling of the brakes. If I had known about parking in gear then I would have applied that and it would have prevented the accident.
In his report, the coroner said 85 per cent of the people he asked didn't know how to do this. The 15 per cent who said yes had been told in an advanced course.
It's very important to get the message across to other families. We have paid a very high price to get this knowledge. Therefore, for your own sake and your children's sake please do everything you can to prevent an accident on your drive, inside your house or to your family.
Since Harry's death, Michelle and Christian have set up Harry's Fund – www.harrysfund.org.uk – which helps families with sudden death bereavement. Alongside that, they also run the parking in gear PING! campaign.
Posted: 3/10/2016 12:26:44 PM