Pattaya Daily News

13 April 2011 :: 11:04:25 am 52819

Hide and Seek Boy, 4, Burnt to Death in Tumble Dryer

A boy of four died after being spun around inside a tumble dryer for up to two hours while his mother slept off a hangover at a friend's house, an inquest heard yesterday.
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Sonny Gibson suffered terrible burns and inhaled scorching hot air after becoming trapped inside the machine at his home.

His mother Anne-Marie Gibson found him dead after she returned to the house.

It is believed the ‘mischievous’ child, who loved playing hide and seek, had climbed into the machine which started automatically after the door slammed shut on him, possibly when he accidentally kicked it.

Mrs Gibson, 42, wept as she recalled the moment she returned from the friend’s house on the morning of July 26 last year having had ‘one too many’ the night before and realised her son had disappeared.

The mother of five called the police who began a search.

When a police officer asked Mrs Gibson what Sonny had been wearing last, she checked the tumble dryer and found her youngest child dead inside the machine wearing only his pyjama top.

Mrs Gibson, a care assistant, is separated from the boy’s father Stewart Gibson, who had been due to take Sonny on holiday later that day.

She said: ‘I rang his dad to see if he had come to pick him up, but I knew he would not have done that without telling me.

Then I started searching the house again with the WPC. I looked in the washing machine to see if I could work out what he was wearing.

‘I opened the tumble dryer and he was there. The dryer door was closed. I just opened it and saw him in there, he was just curled up. He looked like he was sleeping, but I knew he was dead.’

Sonny had been left in the house in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, with two teenage family members and at first Mrs Gibson had lied to police about events.

She told them that on the morning Sonny was found dead she had been with him and he had disappeared while she popped out to get some cigarettes.

She claimed she said this to protect the family members with whom Sonny had been left the night before and take the blame on herself.

Days after Sonny’s death Mrs Gibson was arrested on suspicion of child neglect, but she was later released without charge.

She told the inquest Sonny was often cared for by other family members while she was at work, describing him as ‘independent’.

She said: ‘He was a lively, bubbly, mischievous, proper little boy. He was into everything, climbing everywhere, he was up to mischief all the time.

Fun loving: Mrs Gibson said her son may have climbed into the dryer to hide

‘And he loved to hide, one day we spent an hour looking for him all over then suddenly he popped out of nowhere.’

Attempts to keep him in his room led to a chain being fitted on the outside of his door, but on the night before his death it was not put on.

Mrs Gibson told the inquest in Derby that Sonny had worked out how to use the tumble dryer himself as he had used it to warm up his ‘special blanket’.

One of his older brothers had also previously caught him leaning inside the tumble dryer and told him off, she said.

Home Office pathologist Professor Guy Rutty, who examined the body, told the inquest Sonny was lacking in proper social care and was unclean, suffering from head lice and poor dental care.

He said it appeared as though Sonny had climbed into the machine on his own, rather than being forced in, and may have been there ‘for anything up to 120 minutes’.

Derby coroner Louise Pinder recorded a verdict of accidental death and said Mrs Gibson’s decision to stay at a friend’s house the night before Sonny’s death would no doubt ‘haunt her for a long time to come’.

However, she said she did not believe her absence was a ‘relevant factor in his death’.

Report by : DailyMail

Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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