Devon schoolboy 'football match' death was 'freak accident'

Olly Croker Image copyright Tiverton High School
Image caption Olly Croker's mother Pippa described him as a "gorgeous boy"

A 12-year old football spectator died after he was hit in the head by a metal spike which was dislodged during a tackle involving his brother, an inquest has heard.

Olly Croker was hit when the u-shaped anchor, which had held an FA Respect banner in place, "flew through the air" for almost 100ft (30m).

He died two days later.

Olly suffered "unsurvivable" injuries in the "freak accident", coroner Dr Elizabeth Earland said.

The inquest, in Exeter, heard the two players - including Olly's older brother Liam Hole - had challenged for the ball near the half way line at Bradnich Football Club.

Bampton FC senior secretary Neville England said the pair became "entangled" in the banner.

Health and safety expert, Chris Rudall, said this stretched the barrier ropes, which caused the anchor to fly out of the ground.

Olly was airlifted to hospital after the incident on Saturday 12 September but died on the following Monday night from serious head injuries.

Image copyright Tiverton High School
Image caption Olly Croker was a regular supporter at Bampton games where he would watch his brother

His mother Pippa called him a "gorgeous boy" whose organs had now "given life" to five children.

Dr Earland said she would be writing to the FA to ask them to reach a conclusion over what happened and share it with the public.

"This was an extremely unusual event and one which no one wishes to see a repetition of," she said.

A local authority inquiry is under way to discover the exact circumstances of the accident.

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