An inquest into the tragic death of a 3-year old boy was held today at the Civic Centre in Reading. Lucas Eric John Ot of Thatcham in Newbury died when he became trapped in his Fantasy Bus bunk bed on 11th February 2010. Described by his family as a ‘typically inquisitive’ three year old with a ‘larger than life character’, it is thought Lucas found a way to push his head through the bed panels from underneath due to what were later found to be serious defects in the design of the bed.
He was found by his mother Suzanne hanging from the top bunk, with his head through the hole in the bed surround. He was lifted down and an ambulance called but death was pronounced shortly after their arrival.
Rigorous testing by Trading Standards found the novelty bed to be defective in manufacture in a variety of ways, most notably in its reduced number of safety barriers, larger than permissible gaps in its construction and lack of assembly instructions.
The ‘Fantasy Bus Bunk Bed’ was purchased from a private seller through E-bay who originally obtained it from a retailer in Birmingham who has to date denied selling the product. The manufacturer of the bed is a company based in China who have also denied responsibility, all of which currently leaves the family in the cruel situation of having no-one accepting responsibility.
Acting on behalf of the family, Verity Taylor of Hayward Baker solicitors in Fareham commented, ”While deeply saddened for the family for their terrible loss of young Lucas, we’ve been working hard to get some closure for them by ensuring those responsible are held accountable. Understandably, the family want to see justice is done for their son, but they also wish to prevent a repeat of this accident happening again to another child who may already have this product. As a result of Trading Standards test findings, a dangerous consumer products notification has been issued and circulated across Europe where it is hoped the product will be recalled”.
Lucas’s father Ross Ot, made the following statement:
”The past few months have been a very difficult, devastating and trying time for us and whilst the events of today will help bring some closure to the tragedy, nothing will take away the pain and loss that we will continue to suffer for the rest of our lives. We all dearly miss Lucas who was such a lively, happy little boy who had a larger than life character and the most loving personality and huge smile. He had a huge impact on all of our families, who have all been affected by our devastating loss. We hope that as a result of what has happened to Lucas, that the Fantasy Bus bunk bed will be removed from the market or recalled for modifications and that all bunk beds on the market will be checked ensure they comply with the Consumer Protection Act, which this particular bed did not. This tragedy could have been avoided had both the manufacturer and retailer fulfilled their obligations to ensure the product was safe for the domestic market.
We would like to say to all those parents out there with children who desperately want a bunk bed to consider your purchase as if it were a life changing one. We could never have anticipated that the purchase of a bed that our dear Lucas wanted so much would have taken his precious little life from us and turned our world upside down”
More news on the inquest can be found here.