Police investigate toddler death

THERE were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Felixstowe three-year-old Benjamin Davey, police confirmed today.A police officer has been appointed at the coroner's request to investigate the circumstances in which the youngster died during the storm, and to report to the inquest which will take place.

THERE were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Felixstowe three-year-old Benjamin Davey, police confirmed today.

A police officer has been appointed at the coroner's request to investigate the circumstances in which the youngster died during the storm, and to report to the inquest which will take place.

Little Benjamin died after being struck by a falling tree as he walked through The Grove woodland with his mother Veronica Deri .

A police spokeswoman said today that the police investigation was purely routine, not a criminal investigation, and was almost always carried out in cases of sudden death.

"Benjamin's death was not suspicious in any way, shape or form. A police officer has been appointed to look into the circumstances of his death," she said.

"The officer will then give a report to the coroner for the inquest as part of that court's investigation."

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An officer had visited the scene at the 15-acre woodland and there was nothing which led him to believe that the death was suspicious.

Coroner's officer Jack Gregory said the coroner would decide on the evidence to be considered by the inquest and the police and Health and Safety Executive had been asked to compile reports to help the inquest understand what had happened and reach its verdict.

No date had yet been set for the full inquest – an opening has been held to establish the cause of death – and information was still being gathered.

The owner of the 15-acre woodland, Suffolk Coastal council, has refused to answer questions over why it had not been closed to the public.

It is understood that the council has been advised by its solicitors and its insurers that no comment or explanation should be given in case Benjamin's parents, Veronica Deri and Andrew Davey, of Looe Road, Old Felixstowe, take legal action or the authority is prosecuted.

Benjamin and his mum were on a public footpath when the tragedy happened and the tree came crashing down on top of the youngster.

They were not alone in the woodland, which was open all day Sunday with dozens of people taking their dogs for walks through the site.

It is understood HSE officers are visiting the wood off Grove Road to assess the situation and one question they will be posing is whether the tree was in such a poor state that council staff should have had it felled before the storm.

There have been a number of allegations made about the state of the wood and some of its trees, but also bridges over ditches and streams without guard rails.

The Grove is now largely impassable due to a large number of fallen trees and branches and has been shut. Once the work has been completed to clear the site, it will again be accessible to the public.

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