Boy’s dad grateful for inquest findings

The father of a six-year-old boy who was killed while running across a Sydney road says he’s grateful urgent steps will be taken to improve safety at the spot where his son was struck.


Ryan Leo was fatally hit last July by a car outside his Taekwondo class at Hurstville, in Sydney’s south, after leaving the back of his nanny’s car, running around the front and out on to the road without looking.

Following an inquest into his death, NSW Deputy State Coroner Elaine Truscott on Friday recommended urgent pedestrian safety improvements, lower speed limits, a pedestrian crossing and a pedestrian safety audit be considered and brought to the attention of the Hurstville Council.

“Ryan’s life wasn’t long but it was long enough to brighten up mine and others’,” his father Ben Leo said in a statement to the court.

“He was a gorgeous happy boy with charming and breathtaking smiles.”

Ryan, the court heard on Friday, had been eager to go to his yellow-belt class and see his friends and instructors after a holiday in China.

His nanny, Saiyun Shan, parked opposite the scout hall where taekwondo practice was held.

A witness earlier told the inquest the six-year-old boy had dashed from a car onto the road without looking.

He was then struck by a car, suffering massive head injuries.

“His shoulder and head hit the bonnet of the car, which carried him about 16-17 metres before he fell onto the road,” Ms Truscott said.

“(The driver) says she did not see Ryan, only hearing a boom and a flash of white cloth before applying her brakes, coming to a stop about 20 metres further down the road from where Ryan lay.”

Ryan died in St Georges Hospital about two hours after being hit.

Ms Shan told the court on Tuesday that after Ryan got out, she also exited the car when another vehicle drove past very close to her.

“I went around and I couldn’t see Ryan and I could hear a bang,” she said through an interpreter.

“The vehicle kept driving ahead and I could see Ryan on the road so I ran up. I was shocked.”

The next moment, she said, she was yelling at a man to “hurry, hurry, call the ambulance and help save Ryan”.

During the inquest the court heard there was no evidence the driver was distracted, had inadequate sleep or was using her mobile phone in moments before the collision.

Mr Leo has also said he has “no intention to put blame on anyone’s shoulders”.

“There’s pretty much only one weapon I can use to fight against grief and sorrow – that’s not hatred but love,” he said in his statement.

Outside court on Friday Mr Leo’s lawyer Julia White said her client’s loss was enormous and that he and his family wanted to know all the facts.

“My client is very grateful for the outcome,” she said, referring to the Coroner’s recommendations.

Ms Truscott said Ryan was loved and knew it.

“May Ryan Leo rest in peace,” she said, shortly before closing the inquest.