THE senior police officer investigating the death of Danny Wake has revealed how a 26 second gap in CCTV footage has left police in the dark about what exactly happened to the youngster.
The full scale of the police investigation into the three-year-old's death in Darlington last November was revealed by Detective Superintendent Kevin Weir as he gave evidence at the inquest.
At its height, more than 40 officers from a number of specialist police units were involved in the case, with thousands of man hours spent examining CCTV footage from dozens of businesses and buses in the local area.
Officers had knocked on the doors of 318 homes in the search for witnesses, while 300 calls from the public were logged and investigated.
But, despite the extensive enquiries over the last seven months, police have still not been able to identify the vehicle that hit Danny as it turned into Falmer Road.
CCTV footage from an Arriva bus travelling along Neasham Road towards Darlington town centre showed Danny and his family walking along the street before it carried on its way.
Twenty six seconds later another bus travelling in the opposite direction stopped close to the scene, by which time Danny was lying fatally injured in the road.
Det Supt Weir said many of the businesses in the area that had CCTV did not have it switched on at the time of the incident and said police automatic number plate recognition cameras around Darlington were not operating at the time.
Dozens of vans and cars that either matched the description given by witnesses or that had suffered recent damage have been forensically examined by experts, but all have been ruled out.
Det Supt Weir said the case would remain open and any new leads investigated, but added: "At this moment in time there are no outstanding lines of enquiry."
He said he had an open mind as to whether the driver of the vehicle knew they had hit and killed a child that day.
Asked by coroner Andrew Tweddle why he thought no-one had noticed the moment Danny was hit, Det Supt Weir said: "That's the thing, there are people that might have seen something, but their focus was on other events at the same time. It happens a lot."
Mr Tweddle praised the efforts of the police to investigate what happened to Danny and said he hoped it would bring some comfort to the family to know that the case remained open.
Danny's mother, Kayren, did not speak to the media after the inquest, but asked the police to repeat her call for anyone with information about her son's death to come forward.