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Public speak of desperate efforts to save life of 12-year-old boy hit by refuse truck

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: September 04, 2014

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MEMBERS of the public have spoken of the desperate attempts made to save the life of a 12-year-old boy who was knocked down on a pedestrian crossing last week

Leo Gregory, described as the boy who was always smiling, died after being involved in a collision with a skip lorry on a pedestrian crossing on Topsham Road in Exeter.

Among those to lay flowers at a growing shrine at the crash site just off the Countess Wear roundabout are those who frantically tried to keep him alive before paramedics arrived.

The first on the scene was Darrell Cockett, 28, who is a reservist with 675 Squadron Army Air Corps.

He said: “I realised I needed to put a tourniquet on his leg so sprinted back to my car to get my combat medical kit which I normally carry with me, but didn’t have this day. I ran back and took my belt off and used that instead.

“By that time a lady and gentleman were there. I felt his neck and couldn’t feel a pulse. I’m confident he didn’t suffer or feel any pain.

“While I fixed the tourniquet the lady started CPR and then I took over and kept going until the paramedics arrived.

“It was clear to me he was gone, but I kept talking to him because you never know.”

Darrell, who lives in Exmouth, said he continued administering chest compressions when the paramedics arrived. They replaced his belt with a proper tourniquet and used a defibrillator.

“Eventually someone took over and I picked up the equipment and other stuff which was scattered around and covered him with a blanket,” he continued.

Darrell, who served with 6 Rifles in Exeter for around two years until transferring around seven months ago, said he waited for the police to open the road and was the first to lay flowers in tribute to Leo, using the belt to secure them to the lamppost.

The actions of Darrell, and others at the scene, have been widely praised by witnesses.

“I just wanted to help the little boy,” he added.

“I didn’t know if there was anything I could do, but this didn’t stop me trying 110 per cent.

“I was just doing what I hope other people would have done for me. I’d like the chance to sit down with his family and talk to them if they’d like to.”

The woman who first gave CPR to Leo was Serena Knowles, 37, a health care assistant from Exeter.

She said: “My heartfelt condolences go to the family of this poor little boy and his brave friend who was with him.

“Myself and two male members of the public made every effort to save his life until paramedics arrived.

“We tried so hard to fight for your life. I am devastated we could not do more for you.

“We did what anyone would do. This was such a tragic, devastating accident and my thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones at this very difficult time.

“May you rest in peace little one, you will always have a piece of my heart.”

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