Coroner rules “accidental death” for boy, 6, who fell from window

A six-year-old boy suffered fatal injuries when he fell out of his bedroom window while reading a Mr Men book, an inquest has heard.

Nigel Chapman reported for The Lincolnite at the final inquest, which was heard at Boston Coroners Court during the afternoon of Tuesday, April 23. Experienced assistant coroner Richard Marshall gave a conclusion of accidental death.

As previously reported, William Martyn Lee Coy died after falling from a window in Lincoln in July 2018. The young boy was taken to Queens Medical Centre after the incident which happened at a property on Lindum Avenue on Tuesday, July 17. He died two days later.

William was an “intelligent, inquisitive and caring” lad with maturity beyond his years. The tragedy happened at about 9.15pm during last summer’s heatwave, with the temperature in his top-floor bedroom “almost unbearable”.

Coroner Marshall said it was one of the most tragic cases he had ever dealt with.

The hearing was told that William had gone downstairs three times after being put to bed and his father, Richard, had become a little irritated.

On the final return to his bedroom on the top floor of the three-storey terraced home it is believed William sat on the windowsill and read, as he would often do because he enjoyed the light from the window and liked seeing what was going on around.

The lower panel of the replacement UPVC window had no catches and opened fully wide from the top and it’s thought that after about 15 minutes reading he may have leant on it and fallen out.

Pictured left to right, DC Richard Gray, Lydia Coy, William Coy and DC Amy Skelton.

In a statement, the boy’s father, Richard – who called his son “my little buddy” – thought his elder daughter was joking when she came to ask him why William was sleeping outside.

“I told [his daughter] to stop messing about, but she insisted she wasn’t,” he said.

He expected to find that William had let himself out of the back door – but it was locked and it was then that he saw his son lying on the concrete patio.

“I could see that his glasses were on the floor beside him, as if he had just taken them off. There was a small amount of blood coming from his nose. I started to shout and scream in complete panic and yelled at [his daughter] to go and get his phone.

“I tried to wake William up but he wouldn’t open his eyes. He wasn’t breathing properly.”

Emergency services arrived within three minutes of the call and William, who was twice resuscitated from cardiac arrest, was taken to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. He died from his “catastrophic” head injury two days later, on July 19.

The inquest heard that the Monks Abbey Primary School pupil had only recently expressed interest in his organs being used for donation after his death after seeing a TV programme and quizzing his mother, Kate, about it. His kidneys and pancreas were used.

The Coys had lived in the rented accommodation for about three years. The issue with the unrestricted windows had been raised at the time with the landlord but, Mr Coy said, had been “forgotten about or overlooked”.

“Kate and I had been careful to ensure that the children were aware of the dangers and we stressed the risk of going near the windows when they were open,” he said. “We encouraged them to keep them closed whenever they were in their bedrooms. However, last summer this was impossible due the oppressive heat.”

In a poignant element to the incident, William’s sister had shut the window after his fall in an effort to protect him from getting into trouble from having it open.

Child protection police held an investigation but Detective Inspector Lee St Quinton told the inquest that there were no concerns and it was obviously a “loving family unit”.

Giving a conclusion of accidental death, Mr Marshall said: “Words are really inadequate to do justice to fully describe the circumstances of the tragedy. It’s difficult to imagine anything worse than losing a child in such circumstances as these.

“It’s also one of the most moving cases I’ve dealt with. William was only six and yet with an extraordinary degree of maturity had indicated that he would want to give his organs in the event of his death – tragically something that happened far too soon.”