‘Hide and seek’ boy, 4, dies in tumble dryer

A FOUR-YEAR-OLD boy was found dead in a tumble dryer yesterday after playing a game of hide and seek.

The child was reported missing from the garden of his home on Northcliffe Road, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, shortly after 10.30am yesterday morning.

A police helicopter was scrambled before the boy was found dead just under an hour later by his “distraught” mother and a police officer.

Detectives would not say whether the dryer was switched on when the boy was found.

The boy was dead at the scene.

A spokeswoman for Derbyshire Constabulary said no one has been arrested.

The spokeswoman said: “It’s normal procedure to search the house to make sure whoever is missing isn’t found there.

“They were searching outside with the force helicopter and they also searched inside the house and that’s where they found him.

“He was found by his mother, who had a police officer with her at the time.

“She’s distraught, as can be expected, and is receiving medical attention.”

It is understood that the mother, named in reports as Anne Shepherd, left the boy, Sonny, in the care of her older children and went out to do some shopping.

Sonny’s elder half-sister and half-brothers were to look after him but during a game of hide and seek the four-year-old got into the tumble dryer.

It is not known whether the machine was switched on or if the youngster ran out of oxygen.

One neighbour said the child loved to play hide and seek, and he was “always trying to give his older brothers and sisters a surprise”.

“It seems the little lad climbed into the tumble dryer and managed to shut the door. While the rest of them were dozing on the sofa the poor little mite was trapped inside,” the neighbour said.

“He must have been in there for at least an hour so God only knows what it must have been like. While he was inside they were sat next door completely oblivious. It’s a terrible way for anyone to go but someone as young as him makes it even more awful.”

Reports said the children were inconsolable and were blaming themselves for the tragedy.


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