Four-year-old Crawley boy died after he was crushed by mirror in store, inquest hears

Four year old Austen Harrison who died at Bicester Village retail outlet in June 2013 ENGSUS00120130717125114
Four year old Austen Harrison who died at Bicester Village retail outlet in June 2013 ENGSUS00120130717125114

A four-year-old Crawley boy died after a mirror he was playing in front of at an upmarket outlet store fell on top of him and crushed his head, an inquest heard today (Monday, March 23).

Austen Harrison was waiting for his father Simon to try on suits when the 118kg mirror fell on him in the fitting room.

Mr Harrison said he heard a “quick loud sudden bang” and turned around to see the mirror on the floor of the Hugo Boss outlet in Bicester Village, Oxon, crushing his son.

An-off duty doctor tried to keep Austen alive before paramedics arrived at the Bicester Village.

In a statement, the father told the inquest: “I was walking towards my wife Irina to choose a tie and Austen was behind me near the winged mirror. I heard a quick loud sudden bang, but no sound of breaking glass. I heard someone gasp and I looked and saw the mirror had fallen over. I knew Austen was underneath it as it was not lying flat to the floor.”

Mr Harrison, a mechanical aerospace engineer and consultant, lifted the mirror off his son and carried him to a carpeted area of the store where an off-duty junior doctor assisted until paramedics arrived.

Austen was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford after the incident, which happened at around 8.30pm on June 4, 2013, but died four days later from head injuries.

Mr Harrison told the inquest his son had moved the two winged sections of the mirror inwards so he could see himself better while he was playing, and his dad moved them back.

A statement from Austen’s mother Irina said: “Austen was looking at himself in front of the mirror when I heard a crash. We ran to the mirror and Austen was underneath it. His head was broken.”

Christina Davies, the off-duty doctor, said in a statement that she found his pulse and tried to keep him stable until paramedics arrived.

Oxfordshire Coroner Darren Salter said: “Austen Harrison died on June 8, 2013. He had been shopping at Hugo Boss in Bicester Village when a large heavy mirror in the fitting room fell on him and knocked him to the floor. He suffered a severe head injury which proved to be unsurvivable.

“The mirror was designed to be fixed to the wall and not freestanding.”

The inquest heard the 118kg mirror was two metres tall and one-and-a-half centimetres wide with a large centre panel and two hinged wings on either side.

The Health and Safety Executive found no evidence of wall fixings on the back of the main mirror or the wings and an investigation found that if the wings were opened outwards, even marginally, it would cause the mirror to rock forward.

Doctors operated on Austen, of Crawley, West Sussex, however he could not be saved.

The jury inquest continues.