A 4-year-old girl accidentally died after her helmet strap became caught in a branch as she climbed a tree, an investigation has determined.
Freya Thorpe was just 10 days into being a new big sister when she and a friend headed outside in September to play near her home in Upper Heyford, near Bicester in England, the BBC reported, citing a recent inquest into her death at the Oxford Coroner’s Court.
CCTV footage captured Freya setting her scooter aside but keeping her sparkly pink unicorn helmet on as she headed toward a tree, the Bicester Advertiser reported.
It was reportedly explained in court that Freya likely slipped as she climbed, and the strap on her helmet caught a tree branch and became “tight against her throat.”
“It is cruel, it is unfair, but this appears to have been a terrible accident,” detective constable Bryn Smith said at the inquest, according to the Advertiser.
Freya was reportedly found by a passerby named Elisabeth McCall, who was unable to remove the girl from the tree but called police for help.
The Advertiser reported that a neighbor who was working outside managed to get Freya down from the tree, and performed CPR before a passing ambulance was flagged down to take her to the hospital.
She died on Sept. 10 at John Radcliffe Hospital two days later, according to the Oxford Coroner’s Court.
“She fought so hard to stay with us for over 24 hours but sadly grew her little wings,” reads a GoFundMe launched to help the family relocate, “as them going back to their home is impossible.”
Freya’s distraught father Christopher Thorpe — who had welcomed twins with his wife just 10 days before the girl’s accident — spoke at the inquest, saying that his family’s lives had been “utterly destroyed,” according to the BBC.
“This has broken my family and we are doing our best to survive,” he said, according to the Advertiser. “Sometimes life just throws things at you that you can’t avoid. I wish things had been different — I miss my little girl. I love her.”
A statement read at the inquest reportedly called Freya, who would have turned 5 in October, a “carefree, active young girl” who was frequently seen playing in the area and going on walks with her father.
The tree in which she fell has reportedly been cut down and destroyed.