max temp: 7°C

min temp: 4°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Fersfield: Farmyard tragedy was ‘avoidable’ - rules inquest

18:04 21 February 2013

Norfolk coroner, William Armstrong

Norfolk coroner, William Armstrong


THE death of a toddler in a farmyard accident was a tragedy which could have been avoided, a coroner said.


Twenty-two-month-old Edward Criddle was crushed when a farm worker’s van drove over him as he played at his grandparents’ farm near Kenninghall.

Coroner William Armstrong expressed sympathy to the youngster’s parents, Richard and Lucy, but said Edward should not have been let out of sight while his father worked at Fersfield Lodge Farm, Fersfield.

“Farmyards are places of work, they are potentially dangerous: they are not playgrounds, or places of leisure or recreation,” he said, “Edward should have been under direct and constant supervision.”

He said it was a “painful” conclusion to reach, but he had a duty to promote public safety and agreed with the Health and Safety Executive’s assessment that the tragedy, on November 22, could have been avoided.

A jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

In a statement, Mr Criddle, of Wash Farm, explained the impact the child’s death had had on him, his wife and his three-year-old son, also called Richard. “The events of that day have left my family devastated. Edward was a bright and happy little boy who had his whole life ahead of him,” he said. “Lucy, Richard and I miss him deeply, and he will always be a part of our lives.”

Edward had been playing in the cattle shed while his father tended them when farmworker Kelvin Sutton parked in front of the doors at around 4pm. After a discussion, Mr Sutton – who had worked on the farm for more than 40 years and was known to the boys as Uncle Jacko – reversed to allow Mr Criddle to get his tractor out, then pulled forward.

Mr Criddle noticed Edward was no longer in the shed, but said he thought he was with his grandmother.

Mr Sutton said: “As I pulled forward I felt the rear right wheel ride over something. I thought to myself ‘There’s nothing in the yard to ride over’. I stopped straightaway and I could see Edward lying behind me in a puddle of water.”

Police investigators said Edward may have been knocked over when Mr Sutton reversed, or could have slipped in the puddle. He died from serious head injuries.

Mr Armstrong said Edward’s death could not be blamed on Mr Sutton, and offered his condolences to the family, saying: “I know you will have some happy and wonderful memories of this bright and bubbly little boy, which I hope can sustain you.”

Related articles



Pictured is Tim Yeo

Former Tory MP Tim Yeo has lost his libel action over a “cash-for-advocacy” claim which he said trashed his reputation.

Essex public sector cuts

Public sector bodies in north Essex have had more than half a billion pounds cut from their budgets over the past five years.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

A Framlingham company has been left with a bill of more than £10,000 after pig muck from a farm polluted a 10 kilometre stretch of river.

Delays on the A12.

There are severe delays on the A12 at Stratford St Mary this morning after a mini bus broke down in the second lane.

East Anglian Air Ambulance

A motorist who was seriously injured in a crash on the A134 on Tuesday evening has died.

Cyber fraud suspect rebailed

A 32-year-old arrested on suspicion of conning an east Suffolk business out of more than £1million in cyber fraud has been re-bailed.

Lorry which caught fire on A12 near Chelmsford. Picture: Sgt Colin Shead

Motorists travelling on the A12 are being advised of severe delays at junction 17 for Great Baddow/Southend, due to a lorry fire.

Over 65s Christmas party in Red Lodge. Lance Standbury, Linda French and Carol Lynch are pictured.

Volunteers will serve a free Christmas lunch to senior citizens in Red Lodge next month as part of a community event backed by Forest Heath district councillors.

New choirmaster Peter Tryon hopes to resurrect a Lavenham choir.

A grand church in a picture-postcard Suffolk village could once again be filled with the sound of united voices, if plans to resurrect a local choir are successful.

Students from West Suffolk College slept rough outside the main entrance to the college.

Ten teenagers braved the cold, wet weather for a night to raise awareness of homelessness and gain first-hand experience of what it is like to sleep rough.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the East Anglian Daily Times e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24