A heartbroken mum has spoken about the pain of losing her four-year-old daughter to a horrific tree climbing accident days after giving birth to twins.
Freya Thorpe accidentally hanged herself while climbing a tree near the family home in Bicester, Oxfordshire, soon after she became a big sister in September 2019.
After slipping on a branch a strap from the bike helmet she was wearing caught on the tree, a coroner found, and despite the best efforts of emergency responders she was pronounced dead two days later.
Her mum Elise Thorpe has spoken publicly for the first time about the tragedy after receiving vile "abuse" from strangers blaming her for Freya's death.
"It was a normal Sunday – we were on cloud nine after the long-awaited arrival and difficult pregnancy of my twins Kiera and Zack," Elise, 29, explained.
"A brother and sister that Freya had awaited so patiently for nine long and difficult months to become a big sister.
"In the early afternoon daddy had to go off to collect the special milk from Boots Pharmacy in Cowley for the twins as they were allergic to cows milk (too small and tiny to process the milk)."
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She then said Freya had been invited to a house a "10 second" walk away for a play date.
Elise explained that the "quiet cul-de-sac" is full of "lots of parents" who "confidently let their children out to play".
But on that day Freya had left her friend's house without her mum knowing.
"I had a gut feeling I wanted her home," Elise said.
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"Shortly after, I saw an ambulance at the end of the road – I panicked, at the time not knowing why I was panicking.
"I called my husband to say I was going to get her back from the house behind. He said 'no I'm five minutes away, stay with the babies'.
"I saw his car go past and not return from the little cul-de-sac, I knew something was wrong."
She recalled seeing him run back with a fireman. She grabbed the twin babies and ran, despite only being days out of surgery, to a cordoned area swarmed with emergency services working on Freya.
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The couple waited in intensive care at the John Radcliffe Hospital for two days, only to be told she could not be saved.
She said: "I never stepped foot inside my home again. This is something I also lost and miss to this day…my home.
"We have had so much support over the last 18 months and we can't tell you all how much that's helped us through and for that I can never thank everyone enough for the support, kind words and donations – even from those we've never met.
"But we've also experienced scrutiny and abuse from people who've asked 'where were the parents? How could they let her out alone?'
"It has caused family rifts from relatives and judgement all because people didn't know Freya wasn't in our care when this happened."
Elise added: "The pain is immense. The shock still as raw. I miss my home so much but I miss my baby girl like you can never imagine.
"We lived out of suitcases until we could find accommodation and still awaiting to find what feels right… but that's just it… nothing does."
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