Saturday 23 September 2017

Boy (10) dies in Topshop after display barrier collapses on top of him

The scene outside Topshop in the Oracle shopping centre in Reading, Berkshire, where according to reports a 10-year-old boy died from severe head injuries following an incident involving shop furniture. Photo: Dominic Harris/PA Wire
The scene outside Topshop in the Oracle shopping centre in Reading, Berkshire, where according to reports a 10-year-old boy died from severe head injuries following an incident involving shop furniture. Photo: Dominic Harris/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A 10-year-old boy who died at a Topshop store in Reading on the first day of half-term suffered serious head injuries in an incident involving a store display barrier, police said.

The youngster was taken to the Royal Berkshire Hospital after the incident in the Oracle shopping centre at 4.15pm on Monday, but was pronounced dead.

The boy, from the Reading area, has not been named and the coroner's office in the town said an inquest had not yet been opened as police were still investigating.

A date for a post-mortem examination was also yet to be set.

Thames Valley Police said the boy's death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious.

In a statement the force said the child "suffered serious head injuries after an incident involving a store display barrier".

Detective Superintendent Paul Hayles said: "We are supporting the boy's family to assist them at this very difficult time.

"We continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding this death.

"A scene watch is in place at the Topshop store and is likely to be in place for some time.

"Detectives are now working with the local authority and the store owners to gather all of the information on how this incident happened."

The store was closed on Tuesday as investigations inside continued.

Police staff could be seen inside the shop through the door.

Bunches of flowers were left against the shop's closed shutters and passers by paused to look at the tributes.

One card, which was unsigned, read: "RIP little man."

Reading Borough Council said: "As the enforcing authority for health and safety within retail premises, we will be working closely with the police, who are at present leading on the investigation."

The tragedy comes after a four-year-old boy was killed when an 18-stone mirror crushed him in a shop changing room at Bicester Village in Oxfordshire in June 2013.

Austen Harrison died from severe head injuries when the 7ft mirror, which had been left standing free rather than being attached to a wall, toppled on to him at a Hugo Boss pop-up store.

An inquest concluded the mirror should have been fixed to a reinforced wall, and coroner Darren Salter called the incident "an accident waiting to happen".

The designer brand was fined £1.2 million after admitting breaching health and safety regulations.

In a statement, Topshop said: "The Topshop board together with thousands of staff are deeply saddened by the horrific accident that occurred in our Reading store yesterday afternoon.

"All our thoughts are very much with the family at this difficult time.

"We are thoroughly investigating all the events surrounding this extremely sad situation."

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