THE heartbroken family of a Teesside four-year-old have paid tribute to their beautiful daughter as an inquest revealed the tragic circumstances of her death.

Much-loved Jessica Azadi, from Thornaby, died last September after a heavy fireplace safely stored in her back garden fell onto her, leaving her with catastrophic head injuries.

In the wake of her death, Middlesbrough’s senior coroner Clare Bailey pledged to issue advice on the proper storage of heavy objects to coroners across the country in the hope that “similar accidents can be avoided”.

Jessica, who was in her first week of school, was helping her mother, Natasha Azadi, to paint their garden fence on the afternoon of Friday, September 9.

The pair were painting the outside of the fence when paint splashed onto Jessica and she was sent back into the house, where a family friend was waiting, to wash her face.

Just minutes later, Ms Azadi heard a thud and, looking through the fence, saw her daughter on the floor, lying prone between the legs of a marble mantelpiece that had been temporarily stored in the garden awaiting the arrival of a skip.

Ms Azadi frantically attempted to reach her daughter, but the weight of the fireplace against the garden gate meant she was initially unable to do so.

Her screams for help alerted her friend Melissa Neale, who had been visiting the Azadis at the time of the incident. Together, they managed to open the garden gate and desperately attempted to save the life of the much-loved little girl, alerting the emergency services and performing CPR.

Sadly, their efforts – and those of medics from the North East Ambulance Service, the Great North Air Ambulance and from the James Cook University Hospital – could not help Jessica, who died in hospital shortly afterwards, having sustained fatal head injuries.

An inquest into the little girl’s death, held at Middlesbrough Town Hall, saw coroner Clare Bailey assure Ms Azadi that she had done all she could to save her daughter.

A statement from Ms Azadi detailed the efforts made to ensure the heavy fireplace - removed from the family home during renovations - was safely stored in the garden, having been tilted backwards against the fence and wedged between fence posts.

The devastated mother told the coroner that she had been sure the fireplace was safe and had no idea how – given its significant weight - it could have moved, with paramedics saying that they too had struggled to move it to access the property.

Recording a verdict of accidental death due to fatal head injuries, Ms Bailey said she was satisfied that steps had been taken to safeguard Jessica but said she would nevertheless issue a warning to other coroners’ courts in the hope any similar incidents could be avoided.

She said: “I am satisfied that Jessica’s mother did what she could to try and secure the item by tilting it backwards and wedging it between fence posts that had no give in them.

“Nobody else was in the garden at the time and the police are satisfied there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding Jessica’s passing.

“I am satisfied that Jessica died as a result of a tragic accident and I am going to be taking steps after this to organise a circular to be sent throughout other coroners’ areas regarding the storage of heavy items in the family home and garden in the hope that similar accidents can be avoided.

“I place no blame on Jessica’s mother – I am satisfied she did everything that she could.”

Ahead of the inquest, Jessica’s family released a statement paying tribute to their daughter, having previously thanked those who battled to save her life.

Their statement said: “We are still coming to terms with the accident and losing our beautiful daughter Jessica.

“We take comfort in the brilliant memories we have of Jessica and the continued support from our family, friends and the local community.

“It's difficult to contemplate life without Jessica and we will continue to take each day at a time.”