Boy, 9, accidentally hanged himself with dressing gown cord

TRAGIC: Liam Gardner accidentally hanged himself with dressing gown cord

TRAGIC: Liam Gardner accidentally hanged himself with dressing gown cord

First published in Gwent news
Last updated

A "HAPPY-go-lucky" nine-year-old boy from Ebbw Vale died after he accidentally hanged himself while swinging from a dressing gown cord tied to his bunk bed, an inquest heard.

Liam Gardner, also known as Liam Willis, who was described as “a sweet little boy” by his mother Kiara Willis, was playing in his bedroom alone when he died on Thursday, May 1.

An inquest sitting at Gwent Coroner's Office in Newport heard yesterday that Liam had no "appreciation of danger" and had been swinging from a "Heath Robinson-type contraption" he and his brother Delmi Willis, 12, had made so they could suspend their tablet computer to watch films.

Crying while speaking, Mrs Willis told the hearing about the day of the tragic incident.

She said: "My 12-year-old screamed 'Mam'. I knew there was something wrong. I passed my baby to my daughter and ran upstairs.

"He was just dangling there. I tried to get him off and I couldn't. My 16-year-old got a knife and tried to cut him down. We tried to give him mouth to mouth and we were on the phone to the ambulance. It all happened so quickly."

Mrs Willis said that the device had only been there for a few days and that Liam, an Ebbw Fawr Learning Community school pupil, was always climbing on things and jumping off them.

Gwent Coroner David Bowen recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He said: "I'm satisfied that Liam was a typical nine-year-old, full of life and had no appreciation of danger, that he shared a bedroom with his brother and they had suspended a Heath Robinson-type of contraption which they used to watch videos.

"While it wasn't being used for that he would put his body through the contraption and use it as a swing. I'm satisfied that that was what he was doing the moments before he died."

He added that the dressing gown cord must have "twisted in a totally unexpected way with fatal results".

A post mortem confirmed that Liam died of hanging.

Mr Bowen added: "Sometimes we're obsessed with health and safety but to leave such a device with unsupervised children was inviting trouble."

After the inquest, Mrs Willis said: “He was a happy-go-lucky little boy. He loved life and playing and winding people up.”

She added: "I want parents to be aware of the dangers of bunk beds. I never thought this would happen."

She said her five other children were not dealing with Liam's death well but that they were having counselling.

Mrs Willis added that Liam’s school had been "brilliant" and had organised a balloon send-off for him and had helped pupils to make memory books.

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