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Uncle makes heartfelt plea after nephew, 4, crushed to death by tractor

Uncle makes heartfelt plea after nephew, 4, crushed to death by tractor
Harry Lee was suffered a catastrophic brain injury following an accident at his family’s farm

A farmer whose newphew was killed after falling under the wheels of his tractor has made a heartfelt plea for others to avoid the same dangers.

Four-year-old Harry Lee was riding on the outside of uncle Brian Nutter’s JCB loader at this family farm near the village of Newchurch-in-Pendle, Lancashire, when he fell off from the foot plate and was run over in 2019.

After the accident, Harry was carried back to the farm by Mr Nutter and an ambulance was called, but was pronounced dead at the Royal Blackburn Hospital after suffering a catastrophic brain injury.

The 51-year-old farmer was later charged with breaking health and safety regulations and was given a 26-week suspended sentence at Wigan Magistrates Court in March 2022.

He has since shared his words of warning to others to avoid the tragedy that has devastated his family during this year’s Farm Safety week: “Please don’t do it.”

He added: “I hope if people know what happened they’ll be a bit more aware of what they’re doing, and they won’t have to go through what I’m going through.”

Mr Nutter’s plea comes as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published its annual Fatal injuries in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing in Great Britain report. It revealed that 25 people had been killed in agriculture-related activities in the previous 12 months.

He said: “We were cleaning a shed out in the farmyard, using a telescopic handler and we had to get something out of the field.

“Harry was with me, and I put him on the machine, as I’d done in the past, and we drove out the yard, on to the lane and into the field. I turned around and he’d gone, and he was under the wheel. It was so, so quick.”

Speaking at the inquest of his nephew’s death in July 2021, he said: “In the blink of an eye he weren’t there. It all happened so fast. I had to drive forward to get off him. I picked him up and ran down to the farm, into the house, he was in my arms.

“We rang an ambulance and I put him on the floor, I was trying to resuscitate him.”

Mr Nutter admitted that it had been dangerous to let Harry ride on the footplate and the inquest heard that it is illegal to allow children under 13 to travel on or in agricultural vehicles, according to the Prevention of Accidents to Children in Agriculture Regulations 1998.

He said: “Obviously I didn’t think that [it was dangerous] at the time but I do now and it is still going on at other farms. There are risks on farms. We all do these things and I was the unlucky one; I have learned a big lesson from it. It has changed my life dramatically and all I can do is make sure that I never put myself or anyone else in that position again.

“I want to get the message across. I am one of the people it’s happened to, and I don’t want it to happen again. People need to be aware of what can happen. Everyone needs to think. If the children aren’t there, it can’t happen. If Harry had stopped in the house, he’d be here now.

“It’s had a massive impact on all the family. Life has changed forever. It’ll never be the same again. I wish I’d done something different. It’ll never leave me. I wish I’d not had him on the vehicle with me. Please don’t do it.”

Mr Nutter was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £5,276.53.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there were insufficient measures in place to ensure the safety of children on the farm.