‘Little boy ran out in front, and bang’, inquest into Ryan Leo’s death told

There were photos of Ryan Leo as a baby in a Santa Claus suit, as a toddler at the beach, and as a young boy laughing on his father’s shoulders.
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But the picture that marked Ryan’s seventh birthday was a photograph of a small grave, covered in cards and flowers.

Ryan died in St George Hospital on July 28, 2014, after he was hit by a car on Durham Street, Hurstville, on his way to a taekwondo class.

An inquest to examine the circumstances of the Oatley Public School first grade student’s death opened on Monday morning with a slide show of photographs chronicling Ryan’s short life.

His family, court staff, members of the public and Deputy State Coroner Elaine Truscott quietly wiped away tears as the video, prepared by Ryan’s father Ben Leo, was played in Glebe Coroner’s Court.

“He was obviously a very loving son, but also extremely loved,” Ms Truscott said.

In his opening address, advocate assisting the coroner Durand Welsh said Ryan arrived for his taekwondo class with his nanny, Saiyun Shan, about 4.40pm that day.

Ms Shan parked and Ryan got out of the car, ran around the front, and on to the street, where he was hit by an oncoming car.

The cause of his death was a massive head injury.

The officer in charge of the investigation, Senior Constable Robert Street, said there was no evidence the driver, Xue Ying Lin was distracted at the time of the crash nor that she was driving dangerously.

Constable Street said he saw Ms Lin on the kerb soon after he arrived at Durham Street that afternoon, and he sat down with her.

“I observed her to be shaking uncontrollably and she was crying hysterically,” Constable Street said, reading from his statement.

“I said, ‘Are you able to tell me what happened?’ She said, ‘Little boy ran out in front, and bang.’

“[She said], ‘Is the boy OK? If the boy is not OK my life is over.’ “

A witness to the crash, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, told the court that, as he saw the boy get out of a black car, he got the impression a woman in one of the front seats said something like “don’t run”.

He said he saw the boy run past the front bumper bar and out on to the road, where he was hit.

The young man told police he “thought [the car that struck Ryan] could have been driving a little fast, but I really don’t know”.

The inquest will examine road safety issues, how Ryan got out of the car and went to the street, and whether his nanny was experienced and supervising him appropriately.

The inquest, which is set down for three days, continues.

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