Inquest proceedings were heard on Monday on the death of an 11-year-old girl from Cheshire, England who accidentally got strangled by a garden rope swing and died last May. Grace Patricia Hamnet was said to have been on a video call with her friends when the tragic accident happened. 

The inquest into the girl’s death was held at Warrington Coroner’s Court which heard that the girl had been playing in the garden of their home on the morning of May 23, when her mother found her unconscious on the swing. She was discovered by her mother who stepped out to tell her to keep an eye out for their McDonald’s delivery.

A neighbor who was alerted by the mother’s screams, jumped over the fence to check what was going on and helped before performing CPR on the child. She had gone on cardiac arrest at the time the ambulance had arrived. 

First responders rushed the young girl to Whiston hospital while attempting to resuscitate her during the transport. Doctors were able to eventually stabilize her condition but the girl remained in a “deeply unconscious” state. She was transferred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool where she died five days later.

According to Cheshire Live, written evidence from Detective Inspector Robert Lees, of Cheshire Constabulary, stated that the Hamnet girl had been on a group chat with school friends. During the video call conversation, the girl had shown her friends the rope and jokingly said: “I'll be able to put my neck through this and hang myself. “

Lees said the girl and her friends were on WhatsApp when soon after she had told them about the rope swing, her phone was left pointing up to the sky. No further communication was heard from her after that. Her friends became scared when she went silent and immediately told their parents who contacted authorities.

The court also heard written evidence read out from a pediatric intensive care consultant, Dr. Carla Thomas, who said Hamnet was perfectly fit and well on that tragic day when her mother found her unconscious and caught in the swing. A CT scan revealed she had suffered a brain injury that resulted from a lack of oxygen and blood supply. An MRI was also done confirming the young girl had indeed succumbed to a “devastating brain injury” and doctors at Adler Hey sadly said they could not do anything more to save her life. 

Assistant coroner Heath Westerman has accepted the girl’s medical cause of death as a hypoxic-ischaemic brain injury due to strangulation. Investigations done by the Cheshire Constabulary confirmed there were no underlying suspicious circumstances surrounding the girl’s death nor was there a third party involved. 

Lees said the girl's mom had made it clear that her daughter would not self-harm and that she was a happy child. 

swing-4813301_960_720 Representation Image Wooden Rope Swing labwebmaster/ Pixabay