Girl Accidentally Chokes Self to Death on Swing While Video-Calling Friends

An 11-year-old girl has died after accidentally becoming entangled in a rope swing during a video call with her friends.

Grace Patricia Hamnet, from Widnes in northwest England, was playing in the garden of her home on the morning of May 23 when the tragedy occurred.

She had been speaking to her friends on a WhatsApp video call and became trapped in the rope of the swing.

Her mother found her unconscious in the garden, and her screams alerted her neighbor, who then performed CPR on the child.

When medics arrived Hamnet was in cardiac arrest.

Further attempts at resuscitation succeeded only in stabilizing her, but she remained unconscious before being transferred to the specialist Alder Hey Children's Hospital in nearby Liverpool.

An initial CT scan revealed that Hamnet's brain had been starved of blood and oxygen.

A subsequent MRI scan revealed the "devastating" impact of the damage, leading neurosurgeons to conclude that nothing more could be done to save her.

Hamnet passed away later that week on May 28.

The official cause of death was hypoxic ischaemic brain injury due to strangulation.

An inquest into Hamnet's death at Warrington Coroner's Court on December 6, heard that Hamnet had joked about the rope swing on the call with her 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," written testimony from Detective Inspector (DI) Robert Lees, of Cheshire Constabulary, revealed.

When her phone was left pointing at the sky and Hamnet stopped speaking on the call, her friends told their parents, who contacted various relevant authorities.

The hearing heard that this wasn't the first time that Hamnet had joked about the rope.

However, there was no other evidence to indicate that she would deliberately self-harm.

"There were no concerns from anyone about Grace," DI Lees added.

Her mother, who said that Hamnet had recently received a good school report, was also certain that her daughter would not and did not hurt herself deliberately.

"Grace was perfectly fit and well on the morning of May 23," written testimony from pediatric intensive care consultant Dr. Carla Thomas, which was read at the hearing, added.

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

A rope swing amongst daisies and flowers
11-year-old Grace Patricia Hamnet was found unconscious in her garden by her mother, after becoming entangled in a swing. David Arment/iStock