Boy, 9, killed when school locker fell on him in front of horrified pal after he climbed on it

A BOY was killed after a school locker he was climbing on fell on him in front of a horrified friend, an inquest heard today.

Leo Latifi, 9, had been at an after-school swimming club at Great Baddow High School, Chelmsford, when he tried to climb the units in May last year.

His dad was watching his younger brother swim, while Leo was in the changing room with a pal.

The friend told cops Leo was climbing the locker unit when it fell and the youngster appeared to hit his head on a bench.

Emergency services rushed to the school, but he died in hospital at 7.32pm – with his cause of death recorded as a severe head injury.

The transcript of a police interview with Leo's friend was read to the inquest by the coroner's officer.

The boy said Leo was "climbing lockers and I was at the bottom of the lockers", with just the two of them in the room.

He said: "He was at the top in the middle, we were like chatting and that then I felt it going back so I jumped off and went to the side of it.

"[Leo] tried to put one foot down but he couldn't, then his head hit the bench."

The boy added "all the dads started charging in" and Leo's father asked him "what were you doing?".


Asked whose idea it was to climb the lockers, he said: "Well Leo has climbed them before and he mentioned it and started going and I was at the bottom chatting."

Saffron Turnell, an inspector for the Health and Safety Executive, said the locker unit was three lockers high and five lockers wide and had a "couple of doors missing", she said.

Mark Buxton, the school's site manager, said the sports college including the changing rooms were refurbished in 2005-6 and new vinyl flooring was installed in the changing rooms in 2013-14.

Mr Buxton said he thought the flooring contractor "cut round the lockers so… he just left the lockers in place" in 2013-14.

He said: "It wasn't until after the incident that I saw the vinyl had been laid to the end of the wall and an indent of the locker base was visible.

"[They] looked to have integrity, they looked to be robust, I've never really had any cause to look at them for maintenance."

Matthew Flynn, representing Leo's family, asked Mr Buxton if fixtures on the lockers were inspected.

"No, they were not checked," said Mr Buxton. "I didn't know they had fixings."

The inquest, which is being heard before a jury and is listed for four days, continues.

A moving note paying tribute to Leo at the time of his death read: "Leo, Thank you for all the joy you have given to our lives.

"You are a bright shining light that has been an impact on our lives.

"We will miss you but remember you always with such fondness."

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