A MAN picked up his four-year-old daughter to carry her on his

shoulders and lifted her into the still-revolving blades of his

helicopter, an inquest heard yesterday.

Businessman Nicholas Hawkings-Byass told the inquest into the girl's

death that the tragedy happened minutes after he landed the two-seater

helicopter at his family's weekend home in the Cotswolds.

Bristol coroner Paul Forrest recorded a verdict of accidental death on

the girl, Lydia. She died of head injuries.

Mr Hawkings-Byass, who was not at the hearing, said in a statement

read to the inquest that he landed and switched off the engine.

He went through the routine procedures for closing down the engine,

and as he collected his briefcase and business papers his daughter, who

had already been on a short flight with him, approached him and asked

him to carry her.

Mr Hawkings-Byass, 41, of Tregunter Road, Chelsea, west London, said

in his statement: ''I put my briefcase down to pick her up with both

hands to put her on my shoulders.

''What happened next is not totally clear. I am not sure if I got her

on to my shoulders. She then fell forwards on to the ground and, as she

lay there, the colour drained from her cheeks.

''I did not feel any impact, although I realised something awful had


''I was facing away from the helicopter. I was not aware of the rotors

revolving. There was no wind noise.''

He and Lydia were facing away from the helicopter, and were about six

feet from the fuselage.

He called to his wife, Clare, for help, and together they drove Lydia

to hospital at Bourton-on-the-Water. She was later transferred to

hospital in Cheltenham, where she died three days later on July 2.

No members of Mr Hawkings-Byass's family were at the hearing, which

consisted largely of witness statements read by a coroner's officer.

Mr Hawkings-Byass, managing director of NBH Ltd, an agriculture

aviation firm based in London, said in his statement that he had been a

qualified helicoptor pilot for seven years.

He had flown to his Cotswold home from Luton Airport.