Boy, 3, crushed to death by truck after father left it in gear

A three-year-old boy was crushed to death by his father’s pick up truck after the vehicle was left in gear. Anthony John Pritchard-Allen, known as AJ, was visiting his father who worked on farm near Soham and was stood in front of a Toyota Hilux when the incident happened on April 20. His father, Joe Pritchard, had left his son to go refuel the truck but did not notice the vehicle was left in gear, Cambridgeshire Live reports.

When the ignition was turned on the truck ran straight over the young boy, crushing him underneath. Paramedics arrived and he was transported to Addenbrooke’s hospital, but was later pronounced dead. The three-year-old suffered traumatic injuries to his head, chest and abdomen.

A jury of six men and five women heard evidence at Huntingdon Law Court this morning outlining AJ’s tragic death. Coroner Simon Milburn told the court: “As you know this is an inquest into the death of AJ, who died on April 20, 2018. “AJ was born on July 5, 2014, and was only three years of age when he sadly died following an incident when he was struck by a vehicle at his father’s place of work, Holly Farm near Soham.

“It’s the fact that this incident occurred in a workplace which legally triggers the need for a jury to sit in this case. “It’s inevitable that to a certain extent all inquests will be distressing but particularly so when a young child is involved and you will inevitably have to listen to some information about the incident and AJ’s injuries.

A hearing was held at Huntingdon Law Court in Cambridgeshire

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“That information will be dealt with sensitively and you will not be required to view graphic images.” The hearing, attended by AJ’s parents, Tanya Allen and Joe Pritchard, along with other family members, heard that Mr Pritchard had gone to refuel the truck on the farm after a visit from Tanya, AJ and his younger sister.

Mr Milburn continued: “It seems during this refuelling process the vehicle was left in gear and when the ignition was turned on the vehicle moved forward striking AJ, who was in front of it. “The emergency services were called and AJ was treated at the scene before being transferred to Addenbrooke’s hospital.” Sadly AJ could not be saved and his death was confirmed by Dr Maria Smith at 9pm.

A subsequent postmortem examination took place by way of a CT scan and the cause of death was ruled as blunt traumatic injuries to the head, chest and abdomen. A statement from Nigel Howe, the owner of the farm, recounted how he saw Mr Pritchard sat in a police van “unable to speak”. He said: “Mr Pritchard has worked for me as a full time game farmer for five years.

“AJ and his two-year old sister, I’ve known them both since they were born. “Mr Pritchard is an excellent worker who helps to keep my farm running. Toward the end of the day, Mr Pritchard was checking on the birds while I was in the hatchery.

“I went out to help him and we began to walk back and met Tanya, AJ and his sister, who had come to walk the dogs. “I went into the house while Mr Pritchard and his family kept walking toward the house. “My wife and I decided to get a fish and chip dinner.

We returned 30 minutes later to find a paramedic fast response vehicle ahead of us travelling at speed along the road. “I did not know where this was going but I returned to my yard to see this vehicle along with a large ambulance, police and helicopter and paramedics working on AJ. “I went to see Mr Pritchard who was sat in the door of a police van distressed and unable to speak.”

PC Simon Burgin, a forensic crash investigator, said all the evidence pointed to AJ being struck by the front of the truck before being dragged underneath and hit by the rear wheel.

There was no suggestion of any driving offences being committed or any faults with the truck that led to the collision.

Jurors this afternoon reached agreement that AJ’s death was accidental.

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