A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD boy died after being run over by a minibus which had dropped him and his brother home from school, an inquest heard.

Samuel Barker suffered “catastrophic head injuries” as a result of the incident, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Exactly two years after Samuel died, the first day of the inquest into his death was held in Newport.

The jury was told that the minibus was operated by CDS Hire on behalf of Monmouthshire County Council, and the route’s usual driver, John Jason Bevan, had been driving.

The minibus was carrying three Osbaston Church in Wales School pupils – including Samuel and his brother – on that day, and the brothers were dropped off first, with Mr Bevan pulling up on the Barker’s driveway on Hereford Road near Monmouth.

Mr Bevan told the court, via a statement, that he “asked [Samuel’s brother] to open the sliding door to let [Samuel] out” and then drove away, without realising he had hit Samuel.

A statement from Catherine Barker, Samuel’s mum, was read out by assistant coroner for Gwent Sarah Le Fevre.

She said she didn’t recall seeing the bus arrive, just noticing it outside though the window as she walked past.

As she got outside, she asked Samuel’s brother – who was out of the minibus – where he was, to which he replied he was coming.

“I asked again where Samuel was. He still hadn’t appeared. I saw the bus starting to move off. That’s when I heard the noise.”

Mrs Barker said she saw Samuel laying on his side in the road, face down.

“I knew he was dead,” she said.

Paying tribute to her son, Mrs Barker said: “Samuel was such a bubbly, full of life, busy boy. He was an excitable character.”

READ MORE: Tributes paid to Monmouth boy with 'glowing personality' who died in minibus collision.

In a statement, Mr Bevan said: “I was happy the door was shut as the interior light was off. I checked both mirrors.

“As I pulled off, I felt a bump. I can only describe it as when you drop off a kerb.”

Gwent Police sergeant Rhys Dickinson said it was likely Samuel “had fallen or slipped” while leaning on the minibus, and was between the front and rear wheels as it set off.

Dr Richard Jones, a pathologist who was working at University Hospital of Wales at the time, said the medical cause of death was “catastrophic blunt force head injury”.

Richard Cope, business manager for passenger transport and transport strategy at Monmouthshire council, gave evidence that Mr Bevan should have opened and closed the minibus door for the children.

“It is my understanding that Mr Bevan was told that he was to read and be aware of the responsibilities in the rule book,” he said.

“The rule book clearly states that the driver should operate the doors and the children do not.”

However, Mr Bevan said: “With CDS all that was done is we were taken around the route and shown the drop-off points.

“I was never made aware of [the rule book] from Monmouthshire or CDS.”

Nicholas Elsmore, a director at CDS Hire, said Mr Bevan had received a four-and-a-half hour training session on September 3, 2018, where he was driven along the route and went through a risk assessment.

Mr Elsmore said Mr Bevan also completed a mandatory course run by Monmouthshire County Council.

When asked if he had any concerns over whether Mr Bevan had understood the rule book, and could carry it out, Mr Elsmore said “absolutely not.”

However, when asked if CDS had provided the council with a signed declaration that Mr Bevan had read and understood the rule book, he said he had “no idea”.

“It’s either we can’t find it or its been mislaid or it hasn’t been done,” he said.

The inquest continues.