Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Teens 'drinking' - pool boy inquest

Three teenagers who went swimming with an eight-year-old boy who later drowned were asked if they had been drinking by staff, an inquest heard
Three teenagers who went swimming with an eight-year-old boy who later drowned were asked if they had been drinking by staff, an inquest heard

A group of teenagers who went swimming with an eight-year-old boy who later drowned were told off by lifeguards and asked if they had been drinking, an inquest has been told.

Kaimen Ward, who was described as a non-swimmer, got into difficulties while playing with a group of teenagers at Hambleton Leisure Centre in August last year, the inquest in Northallerton heard.

Abigail Lawson, Jade Green and Andrew I'Anson went swimming with Kaimen as his mother Caroline, described in court as a depressive alcoholic, was afraid of water after nearly drowning as a child.

The teenagers, all aged 16 at the time of the tragedy, also went swimming with Kaimen's twin sister Hope-Ella and 11-year-old Michael Ward, who is not related to the victim.

The inquest heard the group was told off by staff at the poolside for going down a slide in a group and for being rowdy and splashing about. At one point, the teenagers were asked if they had been drinking and staff smelt their breath.

Giving evidence, the teenagers denied they had been drinking, but Jade Green said she and Abigail had a glass of Lambrini white wine before they set off to the swimming pool.

Sarah Dodsworth, who was swimming with a friend on the day of the tragedy but who was not connected to the group, said she thought Abigail had been drinking.

She said: "I think she had been drinking... She couldn't stand straight and she was shouting all the time. She was a bit wobbly. I asked her if she had been drinking and she said 'yeah'."

Abigail denied the accusation.

The court was told Kaimen became separated from the group and was probably under the water for several minutes before he was spotted and plucked out of the pool. He died, despite efforts to revive him, the inquest was told. The hearing was also told four lifeguards were on duty at the time.

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