A father discovered his toddler had been killed by the vehicle he was driving after he received a distressing phone call from his mother informing him that his son was dead, an inquest has heard.
Shortly before 7pm on August 3, 2021, Guto Jenkins, 31, was leaving the yard on his Welsh farm in his Volkswagen Amarok vehicle, which had a trailer attached to the back. His three-year-old son, Ianto Cerwyn Sior Jenkins, was outside playing on his bike when the pick-up truck tragically crushed him to death.
Mr Jenkins drove away, unaware of his son's presence and received the phone call from his mother shortly afterwards, Wales Online reports. Ianto and his sister, Seren, and his cousin, Lydia, had been playing outside when the tragic incident happened.
Earlier that day, they all joined Guto Jenkins on a journey from his parent's home in Rhosfach Farm in Efailwen to deliver topsoil to a customer of the business he ran. Ianto and Seren lived with their mother, Jenkin's ex wife, Chloe Picton, on a nearby farm in the Clunderwen area of Pembrokeshire, and both kids were staying with their father for a period of 10 days.
On the evening of the incident, Mr Jenkins had another delivery to be made but all three children had decided to stay behind at the farm. Ianto had initially indicated that he wanted to go with his father on the second delivery but at the last minute he said he wanted to stay at the farm.
An inquest into Ianto's death - held at Llanelli Town Hall on Monday - heard a witness statement from Mr Jenkins, who said he got into the cab of his vehicle, checked his wing mirrors and his blind spot, and then drove up the farm track towards the road. He said that he "did not see Ianto at all".
Mr Jenkins added that he was not using his phone at the time. He said the radio was on in the vehicle but that it was not a distraction, adding that "I was not distracted by anything inside or outside the cab".
He added: "When I got to the cattle grid I received a phone call from my mum. My mum kept saying that Ianto was dead. I had no idea how Ianto came to be struck - I don't know what part of the truck struck him." Mr Jenkins revealed he has been receiving counselling since the incident, and said: "As a father you are supposed to protect your children. I am broken, I am a shell."
The inquest also heard evidence from Meinir Jenkins, Ianto's grandmother, who regularly looked after the three-year-old and his sister Seren, who was five at the time of the incident, on the farm. On that evening she was working on a laptop inside the house.
Her son had parked his pick-up truck in the yard outside the kitchen window, before leaving a short time later to complete the second delivery of topsoil. "Guto left and I believed Ianto had gone with him," Meinir Jenkins said in her witness statement.
"I continued to work and then Seren came in to say 'Quick Mamoo - Ianto is dead'. I could see Ianto was lying on the floor and still on his bike. It was still light outside and I could see clearly. I thought he had fallen off his bike and grazed his knee."
However, as she left the property and made her way over to Ianto, she quickly realised the horror of what had happened. "I knew that Ianto was dead. He was not moving. I put a towel over Ianto's body, and I was trying to get the dogs to move away. I rang Guto and told him that Ianto was dead. He asked what I meant and he was hysterical. He hadn't reached the top of the lane."
Mrs Jenkins also described how she got hold of Chloe Picton - Ianto's mother - who screamed when she learnt of the news, and how other members of the family consoled each other and cried on the farm as they came to terms with the news. Concluding her evidence, Mrs Jenkins said Ianto was a "perfect grandson". She added: "It was a tragic accident which will affect our family for the rest of our lives".
The inquest heard how a post mortem examination found that Ianto died due to a "catastrophic injury to the head". The examination found that "there was evidence of a broken neck which is likely to have occurred at the time of the head injury", and that the incident was "instantaneously fatal".
Speaking of the contact between Ianto and the truck and trailer, William Rhys Hughes, an inspector with the Health and Safety Executive, told the inquest that he "could not say definitively where the point of contact was". However, blood was found on the trailer and not the truck itself.
After retiring for around 20 minutes, the jury in the inquest returned a conclusion of accidental death. The cause of death was recorded as “head injury caused by impact with a loaded trailer”.
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