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Driver's sorrow over ice cream van tragedy

THE ice cream van driver who ran over a little girl has spoken of his sorrow at her death.

At an inquest, driver Arthur Brown was told there was nothing he could have done to avoid hitting 18-month-old Tayah Thorpe.

Mr Brown told the Kentish Express: "I'm just so sorry for the parents. I'm relieved at what the coroner said, but my thoughts are still with the parents."

Tayah, who would have been two at the end of this month, died last July when she walked out in front of Mr Brown's ice cream van as he pulled away outside her home in The Limes, South Ashford.

But coroner Rachel Redman told him: "Mr Brown, you should comfort yourself with the fact that I think there is nothing you could have done to prevent this accident."

Choking back tears, eyewitness Lissa Bourne listened as Mrs Redman read her statement to the inquest. Miss Bourne, of Austin Road, South Ashford, was driving around the green at The Limes when she noticed the children queuing up for ice creams.

She said: "I noticed the little girl standing in the road. She was so close to the van, it was as if she was holding the bumper.

"The little girl was pushed over by the front of the van. I hit my horn as soon as it happened.

"The ice cream van stopped and the driver got out of the van. I said, 'You have just run over her,' and he said, 'I didn't see her'."

The inquest heard that Mr Brown's van was fitted with mirrors and rear view cameras, but that Tayah was so small she would not have been visible to the driver.

Crash investigator PC Mark Lamb was asked if Mr Brown could have checked the road in front of his van before pulling off.

He told the hearing: "It would have required Mr Brown to have got out, moved around the vehicle and got back in again.

"But even in that time, someone could still have moved in front of the van."

A verdict of accidental death was recorded.

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