THE parents of Tommy Hollis, killed by a falling lamppost in Chiswick, in 2010, intend to sue Hounslow Council for compensation despite a coroner ruling the death was accidental.
Baby Tommy died in hospital on February 25, the day before his first birthday, two days after being struck by the post while with his nanny outside Chiswick Town Hall.
However, while the Crown Prosecution Service have ruled there is insignificant evidence to prosecute, Coroner Elizabeth Pygott pointed out her ruling will not prevent either a criminal or a civil case.
West London Coroner's Court heard this week how workman Kevin Elmore employed by construction firm McNicholas admitted mistakenly cutting off a metal support believing it to be part of an old tram track.
There were also suggestions Hounslow Council had exerted pressure on its contractor AECOM to complete the road-widening project quickly.
In an email to AECOM just days before the tragedy, Hounslow transport boss Chris Calvin-Freeman wrote: "I must emphasise the growing concern among out members, this being a civic site and the elections approaching. I'm very relieved to hear Virgin Media is now on site. Can you ensure they are poised to start work?"
Owain Thomas, representing Tommy’s parents Kate and Christopher, argued there was enough evidence to conclude Tommy had died as a result of gross negligence.
But Ms Pygott refused to allow jurors to consider a verdict of unlawful killing and ordered they must to rule the tragedy was a case of accidental death.
She said: “It has been regarded as not practical for local authorities to check all lamp columns. It would be a very expensive and burdensome job to do."
A spokesperson for the Crown Prosectution Service said: “We would only prosecute if they (the police) brought us a new report (following any new evidence from the hearing)."
However, Hounslow Council has admitted the case from the parents, who spoke after the hearing revealling their upset the council did not give evidence, is already in motion.
A spokesperson for the council said: "This was an awful tragedy and our sympathies remain with the Hollis family for the loss of their son Tommy. There was a suggestion during the inquest that undue pressure was placed on contractors by the council to hurry up the work. This was not supported by the whole of the evidence.
“We would never compromise safety by placing pressure on council officers or contractors to rush to complete work."
He added: "It is not that we refused to attend (the inquest). It's up to the coroner who presents evidence and we simply weren't called. No date is yet set for the compensation hearing.”
Mr Elmore, whose evidence was in the form of a written statement, was found guilty of gross misconduct by his employer and given a written warning.
His statement to the court said: "If I could take the place of that child then I would."
Mary Gregory, was also a victim of the falling post. She was hit as she pushed her granddaughter in a pram next to Tommy but escaped serious injury.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also remains ongoing.