United Kingdom

Parents of boy, nine, killed by falling locker have describe 'worst nightmare' of losing son

The parents of a nine-year-old boy who was killed by a falling locker in the changing room last year have described living through their 'worst nightmare' of losing their eldest son.

Leo Latifi had gone to an after-school swimming club at Great Baddow High School in Chelmsford, Essex, on May 23 last year. 

While his father, Eduart, 39, watched his younger brother swim, Leo was in the changing room with a friend, also nine, attempting to climb the locker unit.

Leo Latifi, nine, died from a severe head injury after falling while climbing a locker at an after-school swimming club at Great Baddow High School in Chelmsford, Essex, on May 23 last year

The six-foot-tall wooden lockers tipped forward and though his friend managed to jump out of the way, Leo hit his head on a bench.

His father heard the loud bang and came running in to find his son pinned to the floor by the fallen lockers and covered in blood.    

In an interview with The Mirror, Eduart described the horrific moment he discovered his son in the changing room.

The other fathers helped to pull the heavy lockers off his son's body and he held him in his arms for a few seconds. 

'Leo was lying there, covered in blood,' he said. 'There was blood ­coming from his ears, his nose. 

'I picked him up. There was nothing there in his eyes.'

His parents, Natalie, 32, and Eduart, 39, (pictured together with Leo) have described living through their 'worst nightmare' of losing their eldest son and said they now find themselves 'looking for danger' in everything

Emergency services were called and someone performed CPR on Leo as they waited for the ambulance to arrive.   

He was treated at the school by paramedics and an air ambulance landed in the car park to take him to Broomfield Hospital. 

Leo died in hospital at 7.32pm, with his cause of death recorded as a severe head injury. 

In the hospital, Leo's mum Natalie, 32, begged the doctors not to give up on her son and to keep trying to save his life.  

She said: 'I begged them to try again. They said that was it. They got rid of the equipment around him and let us say goodbye.'

The couple, from Galleywood in Essex, have one other son and almost eighteen months after the accident, they are still suffering from the heartbreaking loss of their son.

They said they find themselves 'looking for danger' in everything and expecting the worst to happen when you least expect it.

However, they said they are trying not to be too overprotective of Leo's younger brother as he has to be 'free to explore'.  

Natalie and Eduart are expecting a new baby in April next year, which they hope will give the family a new focus. 

Leo was flown to Broomfield Hospital by air ambulance where he later died. The inquest returned a verdict of accidental death but inquest ruled that a failure to re-fix the locker unit to the wall 'contributed' to the death

At the inquest earlier this year, the jury returned a verdict of accidental death but inquest ruled that a failure to re-fix the locker unit to the wall after new vinyl flooring was laid in 2013-14 'contributed' to Leo's accidental death.

The court concluded the death had been 'significantly contributed to by a lack of assessment of a clear and obvious risk due to a locker unit not being re-secured to a solid wall'. 

Leo's parents said that it was 'really hard to accept' that their son's death could have been prevented so easily - by just a few screws to fix the lockers to the wall - and that their son's death is their 'worst nightmare'.

The family's solicitor at the inquest said there had been clear failings to ensure the safety of children at the site and that the danger was foreseeable.  

The head of Great Baddow High School, Paul Farmer said: 'The school wishes to extend to its heartfelt condolences. We will absorb and reflect upon the jury's conclusion and findings.'

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