A van driver who reversed over a toddler wept in court as a coroner ruled her death was an accident.

The hearing was told Steven Weir could not have seen little Poppy Boothroyd in his vehicle’s blindspot.

Engineer Mr Weir was driving a BT Ford Transit Van in Rawthorpe when he was alerted by neighbours and got out to see the 21-month-old child lying in the road.

Poppy’s mum Melissa McKay, of Almondbury, sobbed during the inquest at Huddersfield yesterday but said she does not blame Mr Weir for her daughter’s death, saying it was an ‘awful accident’.

Ms McKay said: “She was a mischievous little monkey, who didn’t always do as she was told.

“She was into everything.

“She got so many bumps and scrapes but nothing ever worried her.

“If she fell she wouldn’t cry, she would pick herself up.

“She was fearless.”

She added: “We miss Poppy like crazy.

“I still find her things around the house.”

The court heard the tragedy unfolded in St James Way, a cul-de-sac of modern town houses, in Rawthorpe on the afternoon of January 9.

Neighbours heard screams and came running to help Jessica McDonagh, who had been looking after Poppy and had been about to go the shops.

Ms McDonagh told the inquest how she had told Poppy to ‘stay there’, as she turned back into the house to shout for her mum.

She said the next thing she knew Poppy was lying in the road and she screamed for help.

Neighbour Lynn Marie Richardson, 41, told how the BT engineer had just left her home when she heard screaming from outside.

She said: “I looked out and Poppy was on the floor lying on her back. It was chaos. People were all in a panic. Jess was hysterical.

“I told her to take off her coat and put it over her to cover the blood.

“I couldn’t breathe into her mouth because her injuries were so severe.

“I started chest compressions as a neighbour phoned an ambulance.”

Mr Weir told coroner Tim Ratcliffe he did not see the child at anytime before the collision.

He said the first thing he knew something was wrong was when someone tapped on his cab window.

St. James Way in Rawthorpe, where 21 month old Poppy Boothroyd was killed in road accident
St. James Way in Rawthorpe, where 21 month old Poppy Boothroyd was killed in road accident
 

Mr Ratcliffe told how Poppy had suffered severe head injuries and ‘most likely had died or was very near death’ within seconds of the severe impact. She was pronounced dead at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary later that day.

Expert crash investigator Robert Eyre, of West Yorkshire Police, said the Ford Transit Van was carrying out a reversing manoeuvre from parked cars when it struck the child.

Mr Eyre concluded: “Poppy would have been completely in the blindspot.”

He said the vehicle was travelling at low speed and had standard mirrors and did not have any defects.

Ms McKay also said in a statement: “Our hearts go out to the driver. We don’t wish him any malice.

“I hope he can get over what has happened and get on with his life.

“What happened on that day was an awful accident.”

The Coroner recorded Poppy died from serious head injuries and recorded a verdict she died as a result of an accident.

He expressed the court’s sympathise to Poppy’s parents and family and praised those who rushed to help, particularly Lynn Richardson who administered first-aid.