The mum of a three-year-old boy from Bedminster who was killed by a runaway trailer has spoken at an event in Bristol that hopes to change the law regarding towing trailers.
Three-year-old Freddie Hussey suffered fatal head injuries on Parson Street in January 2014 after a two-tonne trailer being towed by Tony Davies’ Land Rover became detached. A judge later found that the trailer had been ‘carelessly’ coupled.
In the years since the court proceedings that saw Davies sentenced to 200 hours of community service and banned from driving, Freddie’s family have been working with MP for Bristol South, Karin Smyth.
They have taken their fight for justice for Freddie to the Houses of Parliament, and raised a debate about implementing legislation that would see trailers requiring regular MOTs, bringing them in line with cars and other vehicles.
Smith and Freddie’s parents, Donna and Scott, were joined at Broad Plain RFC on Friday by representatives from a wide range of local and national organisations including Highways England, the DVLA, the Camping & Caravan Club Avon & Somerset Police and Bristol-based caravan manufacturer Bailey.
The DVLA previously launched a social media campaign, #TowSafe4Freddie, to raise awareness of this issue in Freddie’s memory.
Before the closed meeting, Donna gave an emotive speech.
“You cannot understand the devastation we felt, and still feel,” she said. “As the weeks and months passed and we were waiting for the investigation, we hoped that there was no one to blame and this had been a freak accident.
“We learned this was not the case. The handbrake on the trailer was bent and although this did not prevent this hitch being secured correctly, it did prevent the driver’s view of the hitch being locked correctly.
“Why did the driver take a chance? Driver education or better checks would have prevented this.”
She also mentioned another local trailer death in Taunton, in which a mother was killed in similar circumstances to Freddie.
“These accidents keep happening,” Donna added, with many in the audience nodding their agreement. She closed her statement by asking that the people gathered “do all in your power to prevent other families from suffering as we continue to”.
An area outside at Broad Plain RFC has been named ‘Freddie’s Garden’ and shows the three-year-old grinning while wearing a rugby shirt.
Speaking afterwards, Smyth said she felt pleased with how the discussions had gone: “We’ve learned about lots of initiatives that are out there, and that there’s a recognition of the problem.
Smyth wants better coordination between various schemes to make things clearer for drivers, and to make towing a dangerous trailer as socially unacceptable as drink driving, or using a mobile phone while driving has become.
For Freddie’s family, this is a positive step and another part of their commitment to honour their son’s memory.
“Scott and I were determined to make some good out of the awful situation,” Donna said in her statement, summing up their pursuit of justice.
“We made a promise to Freddie that we would fight for him. We don’t want to lose him in vain.”