A boy died after he climbed a locker unit in a school changing room and it fell over, an inquest has heard.
Leo Latifi, nine, had gone to an after-school swimming club at Great Baddow High School in Chelmsford, Essex, on May 23 last year.
He was in the changing room with a friend of the same age while his father watched his younger brother swim, Tuesday’s hearing in Chelmsford heard.
The friend told police that Leo was climbing the locker unit when it fell over, and Leo appeared to hit his head on a bench.
Emergency services were called but he died in hospital at 7.32pm. The cause of his death was recorded as a severe head injury.
The transcript of a police interview with Leo’s friend was read to the inquest by the coroner’s officer.
The boy said Leo was “climbing lockers and I was at the bottom of the lockers”, with just the two of them in the room.
“He was at the top in the middle, we were like chatting and that, then I felt it going back so I jumped off and went to the side of it,” he said.
Leo “tried to put one foot down but he couldn’t, then his head hit the bench”, he said.
He said that “all the dads started charging in” and Leo’s father asked Leo “what were you doing?”.
Asked whose idea it was to climb the lockers, he said: “Well Leo has climbed them before, and he mentioned it and started going, and I was at the bottom chatting.”
Asked if Leo got to the very top of the lockers, the boy said: “No, he was just putting his hands on the top.”
He said he did not think Leo had ever got to the top before, adding: “That’s the first time I’ve ever seen him climb the lockers.”
Asked if he was also climbing the lockers, he said: “Not really, I was just standing on the first one.”
Saffron Turnell, an inspector for the Health and Safety Executive, said the locker unit was 1.8 metres tall, 1.5 metres wide and about half a metre deep.
It was three lockers high and five lockers wide and had a “couple of doors missing”, she said.
Mark Buxton, the school’s site manager, said the sports college, including the changing rooms, was refurbished in 2005-6 and new vinyl flooring was installed in the changing rooms in 2013-14.
Mr Buxton said he thought the flooring contractor “cut round the lockers so… he just left the lockers in place”, in 2013-14.
He said he did not recall any discussion about the lockers.
“It wasn’t until after the incident that I saw the vinyl had been laid to the end of the wall and an indent of the locker base was visible,” he said.
He said the lockers “looked to have integrity, they looked to be robust, I’ve never really had any cause to look at them for maintenance”.
Matthew Flynn, representing Leo’s family, asked Mr Buxton if fixtures on the lockers were inspected.
“No, they were not checked,” said Mr Buxton. “I didn’t know they had fixings.”
Paul Draper, the school’s business manager, said the lockers “had been assessed as stable, secure and fit for purpose”.
He said they were checked during an audit in 2017, adding: “I tried to move it. I’m 17 stone. I couldn’t move it.”
He said he did not check for fixings to the wall.
Asked by the coroner if there was anything the school could have done differently, he replied: “To be honest, probably not.”
After the incident he said the school “took precautionary action to secure everything to the wall, whether it was needed or not”.
“As a result of such a tragic incident you do everything in your power to make sure it’s never going to happen again,” he said.
The inquest, which is being heard before a jury and is listed for four days, continues.