THE death of a four-year-old boy who was hit by a car driven by a friend of his mother was a tragic accident, an inquest concluded today (Tuesday, December 11).

James Robinson was crossing the road after buying ice lollies and sweets from an ice cream van in Tweedport Road, Stockton, when he was struck by the Ford Fiesta.

The little boy – nicknamed Spiderman because he was often seen in the superhero outfit – was pronounced dead at the University Hospital of North Tees an hour after the accident, on August 5, 2011.

An inquest in Middlesbrough heard James, of St Ann's Terrace, Stockton, was playing on the green with other children while his mother Emma Oram was in a friend’s front garden nearby.

He asked his mother for money to get an ice cream and a friend gave him and another child a pound.

Icecream van driver Geoffrey Burdon told the inquest: “Three children walked up to the van. The youngest was about three and the eldest was six or seven. There weren’t any adults with them."

He said after buying ice lollies and sweets they went to the rear of the van and next moment he heard an impact, saw James in the road and dialled 999.

Julie Ford, the passenger in the car, said she had asked her cousin Jane Ford to drive her to the shop for cigarettes.

“As the front of Jane’s car went forward we hit something,” she said.  "I saw a child in the road and knew from the clothing it was James.

“I don’t know the speed of the car when the accident happened but I know it didn’t feel fast.”

Accident investigator Peter Gowland said Miss Ford’s car was in good condition, and that he believed she didn’t see James, who was small for his age, at all before the collision and wouldn’t have had the chance to stop.

James died of head and internal injuries and would have immediately lost consciousness.

Assistant deputy coroner Claire Bailey said: “James will not have felt any pain and this hopefully will give some comfort to those loved ones left behind.

“Taking into account all the evidence, James’ tragic death came about as the result of an accident.”