Father describes attempt to protect Pearl Black from runaway car

The father of toddler Pearl Black told her inquest how he tried to shield her from an unattended Range Rover as it careered towards them.

Paul Black, who appeared on BBC show The Voice in 2014, said Pearl woke up early on the morning of August 6 last year and asked to be taken to the swings.

Mr Black told Pontypridd Coroner’s Court that he attended rehearsals for a play he was performing in and joked that he had to leave early.

“I said: ‘My daughter is way more important and she has woken up this morning demanding I take her to the swings’,” Mr Black said.

He said he returned home and collected Pearl and younger brother Acer and drove to his parents’ house, leaving his truck there to walk to the swings.

Paul and Gemma Black
Paul Black, centre, and his wife Gemma (Claire Hayhurst/PA)

“Pearl had just got into the fact that she loved being on swings,” he said.

“She was happy, joyful, she just loved to play.”

Mr Black described how he carried Acer in his arm, with Pearl walking beside him.

“She wasn’t a little girl who would run off, she would stay very close to me,” he said.

“She had only just started to walk. She was a tiny little dot.

“I said ‘Daddy hand, tight, tight, tight’. I could then hear the rubber against the tarmac as I was looking down to take Pearl’s hand.

“I looked up and I could see the vehicle coming towards me and building up speed. I shouted ‘woah’, I shouted ‘woah’.

“I thought someone was in the vehicle at the time. The vehicle hit the wall. I threw Acer out of my right arm, I threw him into the road.

Pearl Black tributes
Flowers and a teddy were left at the scene of the tragedy (PA)

“I tried to step in front of Pearl. I went for her coat but I wasn’t quick enough to throw her as well.

“The Range Rover went up on to the road and proceeded to crush Pearl in front of me.

“The severity of the impact and the weight of the wall… she was so small… it just dragged her coat out of my hand.

“Some of the wall landed on my knee. Everything had come to a standstill.

“At that point I was the only person there. There was so much blood that it was like a scene from a horror film.

“I could see the death appearing on her face. She died instantly. I pulled the wall off her and picked her up in my arms.

“All I could feel was my arm pressing against my arm because she was limp and lifeless. I was completely covered in blood.”

Pearl Black
The toddler was walking to the swings with her father and baby brother when the incident occurred in August last year (handout/PA)

Mr Black said neighbours placed a fleece on the floor and Pearl was laid on it, with an off-duty paramedic commencing CPR.

He found a hammer lying on the broken wall and smashed the windows of the Range Rover.

“I was engulfed in pure anger and rage,” he said.

Mr Black said he phoned his wife Gemma, who rushed to the scene believing that it was her husband’s stepfather who was injured.

“She saw our baby girl lying on a fleece coat, covered in blood,” Mr Black said.

The singer and tattoo artist said he had first heard the Range Rover collide with the wall of the driveway it rolled down.

“I tried to shield my children from it,” he told the inquest.

“The wall came down in a domino effect. It crushed her like a Coke can. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

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