A FATHER whose little girl died in a 'cruel' accident has thanked neighbours who desperately tried to save her.

An inquest was held today for Freya Thorpe, who died while climbing a tree close to her home in Upper Heyford, near Bicester.

The four-year-old became a big sister just 10 days before her death in September, with her parents welcoming twin babies into the world.

Speaking at Oxford Coroner's Court, her dad Chris Thorpe said he, his wife and their family had been 'destroyed' by their loss.

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He said: "We loved her more than life itself.

"I'd like to thank every single person who tried to assist my little girl.

"This has broken my family and we are doing our best to survive.

"Sometimes life just throws things at you that you can't avoid.

"I wish things had been different - I miss my little girl; I love her."

Heyford Park Free School pupil Freya had been playing with a friend on the afternoon of Sunday, September 8.

She was seen on CCTV parking her scooter, wearing her pink unicorn helmet for safety, and walking towards the tree where she was found.

Oxfordshire coroner Darren Salter said although no-one saw what happened next, it is likely that she slipped while climbing the tree.

The strap of her helmet became caught in a branch, and she was tragically hanged.

DC Bryn Smith, who investigated Freya's death, said in court: "It is cruel, it is unfair, but this appears to have been a terrible accident."

He said a neighbour's 'usually docile' dog was caught on CCTV at 2.04pm, jumping and barking in a nearby back garden as if to get someone's attention.

About 16 minutes later, the same camera recorded a passerby and her three-year-old daughter, who were the first to find Freya.

The woman rang 999 and ran to knock on the nearest door for urgent help.

Another neighbour, who had been working on his car outside, managed to get Freya onto the ground and carried out CPR.

The woman spotted an ambulance passing nearby and flagged down the paramedics, who were soon joined by police and firefighters responding to the 999 call.

DC Smith said Freya was 'clearly a well-loved little girl'.

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In a statement read at the inquest, he said: "Freya was a carefree, active young girl, who was seen regularly playing around the area.

"Her father would take her on daily walks and she would ride around on her scooter."

He said the green near Carswell Circle was overlooked by 12 houses, and that it was regarded to be a 'safe' area for children to play in.

DC Smith added: "It's known to be a popular place for local children to congregate and play."

He said the nature of the bark on the tree would have made it 'slippery' to climb.

The tree has since been cut down and destroyed.

Freya, who would have turned five in October, died at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford on September 10.

Mr Salter described the incident as 'the most tragic of all accidents' and concluded that her death was an accident.

The community united in the aftermath of the schoolgirl's death and a GoFundMe campaign has raised more than £21,000 to support her family, and help them to relocate.

To donate, search the site for 'Raising money for our beautiful Freya.'