Girl, 4, accidentally hanged herself when cycle helmet stuck in tree

‘Broken’ mother reveals her ‘hellstorm of grief’ after daughter, 4, accidentally hanged herself when her pink unicorn cycle helmet got tangled in a tree

  • Freya Thorpe was climbing a tree by her home in Upper Heyford, near Bicester
  • The four-year-old slipped and a strap from her bike helmet caught on the tree
  • Mum Elise Thorpe had given birth to twins days earlier making Freya a big sister
  • 29-year-old has spoken out about losing her little girl and coping with tragedy

A grieving mother has spoken about the day her four-year-old daughter died in a tree climbing accident – days after becoming a sister to twins.

Elise Thorpe, 29, has spoken for the fire time about the death of her daughter Freya, who died in September 2019.

The four-year-old was climbing a tree near the family home in Upper Heyford, near Bicester in Oxfordshire, while wearing a cycling helmet.

She slipped and a strap from the helmet caught on the tree, and despite the best efforts of emergency responders she was pronounced dead in hospital.

Speaking for the first time since the tragedy, Elise revealed her life was ‘destroyed’ and said she would have taken her own life had she not given birth to twins ten days earlier.

She added: ‘I am a broken individual, caught in a hellstorm of grief.

‘We live every day and night in hell, torture, sheer shock and grief that cant be comprehended.’

Elisa Thorpe has spoken out about the moment she discovered her four-year-old daughter Freya (pictured together), had accidentally hanged herself on a tree

Elisa Thorpe has spoken out about the moment she discovered her four-year-old daughter Freya (pictured together), had accidentally hanged herself on a tree

Four-year-old Freya was climbing a tree near the family home in Upper Heyford while wearing a cycling helmet when she slipped

Four-year-old Freya was climbing a tree near the family home in Upper Heyford while wearing a cycling helmet when she slipped

Elise explained how she and Freya’s father Chris were on ‘cloud nine’ having just welcomed twins ten days earlier in February 2019.

Writing on Facebook, she said: ‘It was a normal Sunday – we were on cloud nine after the long-awaited arrival and difficult pregnancy of my twins Kiera and Zack.

‘A brother and sister that Freya had awaited so patiently for nine long and difficult months to become a big sister.’

She said Freya had been invited to a house a ’10 second’ walk away for a play date.

Elise explained that the quiet cul-de-sac was full of parents who ‘confidently let their children out to play’.

But Freya had left the friend’s house without Elise knowing.

She said: ‘I had a gut feeling I wanted her home. Shortly after, I saw an ambulance at the end of the road. I panicked, at the time not knowing why I was panicking.

‘I called my husband to say I was going to get her back. He said ‘no I’m five minutes away, stay with the babies’.

‘I saw his car go past and not return from the little cul-de-sac, I knew something was wrong.’

The 29-year-old added: ‘Imagine being in your home so happy and on top of the world one minute and then in space of a second; never to return home again to a house.’

The couple waited in intensive care at the John Radcliffe Hospital for two days, only to be told she could not be saved.

She said: ‘I never stepped foot inside my home again. This is something I also lost and miss to this day.

‘Had I not given birth only 10 days before we would have taken our lives in the hospital that night, without a shadow of a doubt.’

But she revealed the family had been subjected to horrific abuse since little Freya’s death.

She wrote: ‘We’ve also experienced scrutiny and abuse from people who’ve asked ‘where were the parents?

‘How could they let her out alone? It has caused family rifts from relatives and judgement all because people didn’t know Freya wasn’t in our care when this happened.

‘We gave Freya love and a life us as children could have only dreamt of – she was and still is, our world.

‘We have not been able to do that to our full potential for the twins as of yet because we aren’t strong enough.

‘I wonder if we ever can as we’re destroyed; but for the twins sake we will one day hopefully find a way.’

Elise, who has not been back inside their home since the tragedy, explained how lockdown had exacerbated her grief and long, boring days left her with ‘a life sentence of hell.’

She wrote: ‘I’m frightened to sleep for nightmares, frightened to wake to the terrible pain and flashbacks.’

  • Anyone who feels affected by the content of this story and would like to talk to someone please call the Samaritans on 116 123.

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