Three-year-old boy killed by truck driven by dad on family farm
A father received a phone call from his distraught mother telling him that his son was dead after being crushed in a horrific crash involving a pick-up truck on a Welsh farm, an inquest has heard. Shortly before 7pm on the evening of August 3, 2021, Guto Jenkins, aged 31 at the time, pulled away from the yard in his Volkswagen Amarok vehicle, which had a trailer attached to the rear. Unbeknown to him, the truck had collided with his three-year-old son Ianto Cerwyn Sior Jenkins. Mr Jenkins then drove away with no idea what had happened, when he received the call from his mother, Meinir Jenkins, as he approached a cattle grid a short distance away.
Ianto had been playing outside with his sister Seren and his cousin Lydia, and all three had accompanied Mr Jenkins as he made a delivery of topsoil to a customer of the business he ran from Rhosfach farm in Efailwen, Carmarthenshire – where he lived with his parents following a divorce from Chloe Picton, Ianto’s mother. Ianto and Seren lived with Miss Picton in a nearby farm in the Clunderwen area of Pembrokeshire, and both were staying with their father for a period of 10 days. Read next: ‘I close my eyes and all I can see is Ianto’ Mum’s grief after son, three, is hit by pick-up vehicle on farm
On the evening of the incident, Mr Jenkins had another delivery to be made but all three children had decided to stay behind at the farm. Ianto had initially indicated that he wanted to go with his father on the second delivery but at the last minute he said he wanted to stay at the farm. An inquest into Ianto’s death – held at Llanelli Town Hall on Monday – heard a witness statement from Mr Jenkins, who said he got into the cab of his vehicle, checked his wing mirrors and his blind spot, and then drove up the farm track towards the road.
He said that he “did not see Ianto at all”.
Ianto with his mum, Chloe Picton, and older sister, Seren Jenkins (Image: Chloe Picton)
Mr Jenkins added that he was not using his phone at the time. He said the radio was on in the vehicle but that it was not a distraction, adding that “I was not distracted by anything inside or outside the cab”. He then detailed how he came to discover that his son had been hit by the vehicle and was lying dead on the farmyard. “When I got to the cattle grid I received a phone call from my mum.
My mum kept saying that Ianto was dead. I had no idea how Ianto came to be struck – I don’t know what part of the truck struck him.” Mr Jenkins revealed he has been receiving counselling since the incident, and said: “As a father you are supposed to protect your children.
I am broken, I am a shell.” The inquest also heard evidence from Meinir Jenkins, Ianto’s grandmother, who regularly looked after the three-year-old and his sister Seren, who was five at the time of the incident, on the farm. On that evening she was working on a laptop inside the house.
Her son had parked his pick-up truck in the yard outside the kitchen window, before leaving a short time later to complete the second delivery of topsoil.
Ianto and Seren were devoted to each other (Image: Chloe Picton)
“Guto left and I believed Ianto had gone with him,” Meinir Jenkins said in her witness statement. “I continued to work and then Seren came in to say ‘Quick Mamoo’ – Ianto is dead. I could see Ianto was lying on the floor and still on his bike. It was still light outside and I could see clearly.
I thought he had fallen off his bike and grazed his knee.” However, as she left the property and made her way over to Ianto, his grandmother quickly realised the horror of what had happened. “I knew that Ianto was dead. He was not moving.
I put a towel over Ianto’s body, and I was trying to get the dogs to move away. I rang Guto and told him that Ianto was dead. He asked what I meant and he was hysterical.
He hadn’t reached the top of the lane.”
Why we cover inquests – and why it’s so important that we do
As painful as these proceedings are for those who have lost a loved one the lessons that can be learned from inquests can go a long way to saving others’ lives. The press has a legal right to attend inquests and has a responsibility to report on them as part of their duty to uphold the principle of open justice. It’s a journalist’s duty to make sure the public understands the reasons why someone has died and to make sure their deaths are not kept secret.
An inquest report can also clear up any rumours or suspicion surrounding a person’s death. But, most importantly of all, an inquest report can draw attention to circumstances which may stop further deaths from happening. Should journalists shy away from attending inquests then an entire arm of the judicial system is not held to account.
Inquests can often prompt a wider discussion on serious issues, the most recent of these being mental health and suicide. Editors actively ask and encourage reporters to speak to the family and friends of a person who is the subject of an inquest. Their contributions help us create a clearer picture of the person who died and also provides the opportunity to pay tribute to their loved one.
Often families do not wish to speak to the press and of course that decision has to be respected. However, as has been seen by many powerful media campaigns, the input of a person’s family and friends can make all the difference in helping to save others. Without the attendance of the press at inquests questions will remain unanswered and lives will be lost.
Mrs Jenkins also described how she got hold of Chloe Picton – Guto’s mother – who screamed when she learnt of the news, and how other members of the family consoled each other and cried on the farm as they came to terms with the news. Concluding her evidence, Mrs Jenkins said Ianto was a “perfect grandson”. She added: “It was a tragic accident which will affect our family for the rest of our lives”.
The inquest heard how a post mortem examination found that Ianto died due to “catastrophic injury to the head”. The examination found that “there was evidence of a broken neck which is likely to have occurred at the time of the head injury”, and that the incident was “instantaneously fatal”. Speaking of the contact between Ianto and the truck and trailer, William Rhys Hughes, an inspector with the Health and Safety Executive, told the inquest that he “could not say definitively where the point of contact was”.
However, blood was found on the trailer and not the truck itself. After retiring for around 20 minutes, the jury in the inquest returned a conclusion of accidental death. The cause of death was recorded as “head injury caused by impact with a loaded trailer”.