A toddler was killed when she was hit by her grandparents’ moving caravan as she played in puddles on a family holiday, an inquest has heard.
Josie Gordon, 20 months old, was jumping into puddles at a campsite in Cornwall when she was killed by the caravan towed by her grandfather.
Police investigators believe Josie had either been stood close to the caravan when it began moving and was knocked down or had put herself on the floor and was run over.
The injuries to her head and chest were so severe she died almost instantly despite receiving prompt medical attention.
Cornwall Coroner’s Court heard Josie and her parents, Harry Gordon and Hannah Bingham, had set off from their home on the morning of 12 May this year in their VW campervan.
They were meeting family members, including Josie’s grandparents, Ian and Bethan Gordon, for a week-long break on The Lizard peninsula.
Accident happened in a matter of seconds
In a written statement, Ms Bingham said the accident happened in a matter of seconds while Josie jumped around in the puddles in her wellies on the first day of the trip.
“I had a good view of everything and could see Josie was just playing in the puddles at the back of Ian and Bethan’s caravan – she was having the time of her life,” she said.
“It felt like the car and caravan had been moving for a couple of seconds when the caravan, moving, passed me and once it moved past, I instantly saw Josie on the ground of the gravel track.
“It literally felt like seconds from seeing her in the puddle to then seeing her on the floor. I didn’t see what or how she came to be on the floor.
“All I saw was the car and caravan move forwards and suddenly she was on the floor. Harry shouted, ‘Josie’s on the floor’ and Ian instantly stopped the car.
“Harry scooped her up and I don’t think we realised how bad it was.
“I was just telling that mummy’s here, and I was trying to keep her warm and I kissed her hands. I think I knew deep down she wasn’t okay, but I didn’t want to believe what I thought.”
Miss Bingham added: “I don’t know what happened in the seconds between seeing her playing and seeing her on the ground.
“I wondered whether she crawled underneath the caravan to get something.”
Grandfather checked wing mirrors but didn’t see Josie
Josie’s father said as the car pulled away the caravan “rocked” side to side as if it had run over something and then realised his daughter was on the floor.
When he was told Josie had died, he said: “I thought this wasn’t real. I was in total disbelief about what happened.”
In a statement, Josie’s grandfather said he had checked his wing mirrors before pulling away and did not see anything or feel any impact.
“I was moving forward and only had been doing that for a few seconds when I heard Harry shout, ‘Josie’s been run over by the caravan’,” he said.
Mr Gordon said in a subsequent victim personal statement that the death of his only grandchild had left him with “painful remorse and constant grief”.
Death ruled as a road traffic collision
PC Scott Robinson, who investigated the accident, told the inquest that due to Josie’s height she was probably not seen by her grandfather.
He added that it was possible she had “put herself under the caravan”, becoming injured when it moved.
A post-mortem examination found she had suffered fatal head and chest injuries consistent with being run over by the wheel of the caravan.
Andrew Cox, senior coroner for Cornwall, recorded a conclusion Josie had died as a result of a road traffic collision.
In a statement issued after the inquest, Josie’s parents said: “Josie was a happy, vibrant, beautiful force of nature, whose life was tragically taken in the worst of circumstances.
“She will be eternally cherished by all of us and, in particular, her loving parents.
“The sunshine she brought to all our lives will last forever.”