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A five-month only baby died from a ‘catastrophic brain injury’ after a van mounted onto the pavement to avoid another vehicle driven by an elderly woman with undiagnosed Alzheimer’s and hit the pram he was lying in, a pre-inquest has heard. 

Louis Thorold was being pushed in his pram by his mother Rachael, 36, when a van came off an A-road in Waterbeach, Cambridge on January 22, 2021, hitting them both. 

The collision killed baby Louis and threw Rachael into the air, leaving her with serious injuries. 

The Renault Master van mounted the pavement to avoid a grey Mazda 2 in its path, driven by 74-year-old Shelagh Robertson. 

Louis was pronounced dead at 5.15pm in Addenbrooke’s Hospital. 

A pre-trial inquest at Peterborough Town Hall heard that the ‘initial hospital referral suggested Louis died of a catastrophic brain injury.’ 

Five month-old baby Louis Thorold pictured with his mother Rachael hours before he was killed when a van went on to the pavement and collided with his pushchair

Five month-old baby Louis Thorold pictured with his mother Rachael hours before he was killed when a van went on to the pavement and collided with his pushchair

Baby Louis, who was born through IVF after Rachael had struggled to get pregnant for five years, died instantly in the accident

Baby Louis, who was born through IVF after Rachael had struggled to get pregnant for five years, died instantly in the accident

An inquest hearing is due to take place later this year. Pictured is Shelagh Robertson outside Cambridge Crown Court in 2022

An inquest hearing is due to take place later this year. Pictured is Shelagh Robertson outside Cambridge Crown Court in 2022

Speaking to Louis’ family, Coroner Simon Milburn said: ‘This is the first time I have had the chance to speak to family members and I pass my condolences for your loss.’ 

An inquest hearing is due  to take place later this year. 

The case was heard in Cambridge Crown Court last August, where Ms Robertson was found to have driven carelessly, causing the death of Louis, due to her atypical Alzheimer’s, which had gone undetected and untreated during the Covid pandemic.

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She suffered slight injuries and stayed at the scene.

Meanwhile, the devastated parents of Louis, Chris and Rachael, spoke out about how ‘beautiful’ their son was, saying: ‘Louis was the sweetest, happiest, joyful and most beautiful baby.

‘Louis had his future and all his potential stolen. A life sentence for us, his family, our community, and everyone who hears this story.’

Louis's parents Chris and Rachael Thorold (pictured outside court in 2022) said they must 'now look forward' and ensure their son's legacy lives on

Louis’s parents Chris and Rachael Thorold (pictured outside court in 2022) said they must ‘now look forward’ and ensure their son’s legacy lives on

Louis was described as 'the sweetest, happiest, joyful, and most beautiful baby' by his heartbroken parents outside court today

Louis was described as ‘the sweetest, happiest, joyful, and most beautiful baby’ by his heartbroken parents

In July 2021, Cambridgeshire County Council confirmed the speed limit on the A10 where baby Louis was killed would be reduced from 50 to 40mph

In July 2021, Cambridgeshire County Council confirmed the speed limit on the A10 where baby Louis was killed would be reduced from 50 to 40mph

The tot’s parents, who had tried for a baby for five years before they eventually conceived Louis through IVF, also wrote in a joint statement: ‘We must now look forward. Louis wouldn’t want us to be sad or give up.

‘Louis will live on. His legacy, that one day no one will have to deal with the death of a child on Britain’s roads. Please, if you are in any doubt of your ability, don’t get in the car.

‘If you have any doubts about your parents, relatives or love ones’ ability to drive then please talk to them.

‘The consequences are serious, real, and they last forever; having a simple conversation can literally save someone’s life.’

Following the tragic incident, in July 2021, Cambridgeshire County Council confirmed the speed limit on the A10 where baby Louis was killed would be reduced from 50 to 40mph.

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Detective Sergeant Mark Dollard, from the road policing unit at Cambridgeshire Constabulary said: ‘This was an extremely tragic and sad incident and our deepest condolences go out to Louis’ family.

‘We carried out a thorough and exhaustive inquiry.

‘Regardless of the verdict nothing will ever bring Louis back and his family will have to live with that for the rest of their lives.

‘It is however, a stark reminder of how important it is for anyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle to be competent and capable of driving safely.

‘I would urge anyone who is concerned about a family member or friend and their ability to drive to speak up and discuss your concerns with your loved one.

‘Alternatively speak to your GP who can submit their concerns to the DVLA.’

An inquest hearing is due to take place later this year. 

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