Baby killed by falling lamp post

Grant Prior 12 years ago

A McNicholas worker who cut the metal support on a lamp post which fell onto a baby boy has told the inquest he wished he would have died in the accident instead.

Tommy Hollis died a day before his first birthday after the lamp post smashed on to his buggy as he was being pushed by a nanny in Chiswick.

The accident happened at the site of a road re-widening scheme outside Chiswick town hall on the morning of February 23, 2010.

The inquest at West London coroner’s court heard the metal support was mistakenly cut by engineer Kelvin Elmore, who thought it was an old tramline.

Elmore, who worked for contractor McNicholas, was given a written warning by bosses after sawing through the structure as he worked to move Virgin Media cables as part of the road widening scheme.

The engineer, who has 17 years’ experience, immediately admitted to bosses what he had done after hearing of the accident. In a written statement he said he was “utterly devastated” to have had anything to do with the tragedy.

He said: “At the time I thought I was cutting an obsolete piece of steel. I had no idea it was connected to the lamp post. As a father myself I cannot express how horrified I am to have anything to do with the death of a child.

“As I told police, if I could have taken the place of that child then I would have.”

The Evening Standard reported how the court heard that Elmore, who still works for the company, had been found guilty of gross misconduct at a hearing in 2010.

The company said he had been expected to do a “site specific risk assessment”. But Elmore said he had “never” filled out such a form, or even been told how to.

He added: “I do not accept anything I did amounted to misconduct. I was surprised and shocked by the way the lamp post had been manipulated to anchor it into the ground.”

The inquest continues.

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