Girl, 11, dies after becoming entangled in rope swing while on phone to friends

Grace Patricia Hamnet, 11, accidentally strangled herself with the rope on a garden swing, an inquest heard. Her mum found her unconscious and she was rushed to hospital

Emergency services at Tedder Square in Widnes
Emergency services at Tedder Square in Widnes

A schoolgirl died after becoming accidentally entangled in a swing while on a video call to friends, an inquest has heard.

Grace Patricia Hamnet, 11, from Widnes, Cheshire, was on a group phone chat with friends when she accidentally strangled herself with the rope on a garden swing at her home on the morning of May 23.

She sadly died at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool five days later, CheshireLive reports.

Grace was discovered unconscious by her mother who had gone outside to ask her to keep an eye out for their McDonald’s delivery, an inquest into her death at Warrington Coroner’s Court heard on Monday.

Her mum’s screams alerted the neighbour who jumped over the fence to help, before performing CPR on the child.

Her mum’s screams alerted the neighbour who jumped over the fence to help



Grace was in cardiac arrest when the ambulance arrived at the home and attempts to resuscitate her continued during the journey to hospital.

She was eventually stabilised and remained “deeply unconscious” before being transferred to Alder Hey in Liverpool.

In written evidence read out at the hearing, Dr Carla Thomas, a paediatric intensive care consultant said: “Grace was perfectly fit and well on the morning of May 23.

“She had last been seen playing in the garden at home while on a video chat with friends.”

When Grace arrived at hospital, she underwent a CT scan which revealed that she had sustained a brain injury resulting from the loss of oxygen and blood supply.

The inquest heard that an MRI scan the following day confirmed that Grace had a “devastating brain injury” with neurosurgeons concluding there was nothing more that could be done.

Also in written evidence read out at the hearing was testimony by Detective Inspector Robert Lees, of Cheshire Constabulary, which stated: “She had been on a group chat with school friends.

“They indicated that during the telephone group conversation Grace had showed them the rope and said ‘I’ll be able to put my neck through this and hang myself. She said it in a joking way.”

The hearing was told that after stating this to her friends on WhatsApp, Grace’s phone was left pointing to the sky and there was no further communication from her.

Her friends became scared and notified their parents who contacted the relevant authorities.

DI Lees said Grace’s mum had made it clear that her daughter, who had just received a good school report, would not self-harm and was a happy child.

A Cheshire Constabulary investigation confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding Grace’s death and no third party involvement.

“There were no concerns from anyone about Grace”, said DI Lees.

Assistant coroner Heath Westerman accepted the medical cause of death – hypoxic ischaemic brain injury due to strangulation.

He said there was no evidence of intent to self-harm, and concluded that Grace’s death was accidental.

“My heart goes out to Grace’s parents, in particular her mum due to the traumatic way she found her daughter in difficulty,” he added.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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