The heartbroken parents of a nine-year-old who died when lockers fell on him, have paid tribute to their “curly-haired boy”
Leo Lafiti was killed instantly by 6ft-tall wooden lockers inside the swimming pool changing rooms at Great Baddow High School in Chelmsford, Essex.
Mum Natalie, 32, said: “Our little boy’s death could have been prevented. That’s really hard to accept."
An inquest ruled that the lockers not being fixed to the wall contributed to Leo's death.
The fun-loving lad and a friend were climbing on the heavy items which had been free-standing since a new floor was laid around five years earlier.
Just three screws would have secured the lockers to the wall to stop them toppling over.
Mum Natalie, 32, said: “The hardest part is letting our son go to school. No parent stands at the gates worrying if their child will be safe. You assume they will be. For us, that trust has gone.”
“We thought we were protecting them from danger. We were taking them to swimming lessons – we knew how important a skill it was – and had thought about the slight risk of them drowning.
“We’d never imagined something like this could happen in a school. It’s your worst nightmare.”
Tearful dad Eduart, 39, was shaking when describing the tragic accident on on May 23 2019.
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Eduart told how he was watching their other son’s swimming lesson when he heard a loud bang from the changing room only to find Leo pinned to the floor by a wall of collapsed lockers.
Eduart said: “All the other fathers helped to pull them up. They were heavy. Leo was lying there, covered in blood.
“There was blood coming from his ears, his nose. I picked him up. There was nothing there in his eyes. Nothing.
“I only held him for a few seconds before the others pulled me away and someone tried CPR.”
Natalie arrived soon after the paramedics.
She said quietly: “I’ve never seen so many people in one ambulance. They were still trying to stop the bleeding. But you could see it in his eyes. There was nothing there.
“I can’t get his eyes out of my mind. The twinkle had gone. I kept holding his hand but it was so cold.”
Leo was taken to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford but never regained consciousness.
Natalie 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. I can’t remember what I said. What do you say to your child?”
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The couple from Galleywood, Essex, are still trying to cope with the traumatic ordeal.
Natalie said: “We found out that the worst can happen when you least expect it. You find yourself looking for the danger in everything.
"It’s terrifying seeing children on the pavement ahead of their parents. You think, ‘Don’t you know what might happen?’
“We are trying not to wrap Leo’s brother up too much. He has to be free to explore the world. But there are times when he bumps his head, even slightly, and we panic. It’s hard not to.”
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