A FOUR-YEAR-OLD girl died when an exercise bench collapsed bringing down more than 60 kilograms of weights on top of her.

On a visit to her grandparents' home, Shelby Tyers, of Newby Grove, Thornaby, near Stockton, was allowed to play in a converted garage filled with toys for the couple's 18 grandchildren.

But instead of playing with one of the plastic tractors or toys in the building, the youngster found a work bench complete with a bar and eight weights, left by the property's previous owner.

Two of the locking pins on the apparatus were missing and although Shelby's uncle and two of his friends had used it without mishap a fortnight before, it collapsed when the girl touched it.

North Yorkshire Police carried out a reconstruction of the tragedy, using a sand bag.

Assistant Deputy Tees Coroner Tony Eastwood, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, said: "The police found with using least pressure on one end of the bench, the bench was caused to collapse within itself and effectively deposited the bars and weights upon what ever would be laid on the bench."

Shelby, who had been playing alone, was found by her aunt.

Frantic efforts were made to revive Shelby, but she died the same day. Home Office Pathologist Dr Nigel Cooper told the inquest the cause of death was pressure on the heart.

Tragedy struck when Shelby, who lived with parents Gareth, 24, a tarmac construction engineer and 27-year-old Kelly, visited her grandparents bungalow in Seamer, near Stokesley, North Yorkshire, on June 1 this year.

Heartbroken grandfather Charlie Tyers said after the inquest: "Where it happened could not have been safer. There were electronically controlled gates to keep the children safe and no swimming pool to fall into. It really should not have happened."

He said of Shelby's parents: "Things are getting harder for them. People say time heals, but it doesn't heal with them."