Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Met Police 'refused to rescue canal death boy'

Published 31/07/2015

Witnesses claim police refused to jump into a canal to rescue a teenage boy
Witnesses claim police refused to jump into a canal to rescue a teenage boy

Police "refused" to rescue a teenager who drowned in a canal while fleeing from officers, witnesses have claimed.

The 17 year old, believed to be Jack Susianta, smashed a window at his home and fled after officers were called to the property in Clapton, east London, on Wednesday.

He later ended up in the canal at Lea Bridge Road, Hackney, and witnesses have said officers went in only after he disappeared under the surface.

Fiona Okonkwo, 42, told the Evening Standard it appeared the youngster "couldn't swim" and was in difficulty for around 10 minutes.

She said: "The police officers refused to jump in after him and said they can't do it. I was going to jump in after him but they stopped me. The police told us there were weeds underneath the water, that it was too dangerous and they could get dragged down.

"He was struggling, then he went under the water for the last time and didn't come back up. I saw the bubbles where he took his last breath.

"It was only after about 10 or 15 minutes, after (Jack) didn't resurface, that one of the officers jumped in."

Another witness, Fred McGruer, 55, also told the paper officers had said "they weren't allowed to go in".

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is to investigate the Metropolitan Police over the incident.

A Met spokeswoman said an officer did enter the canal to rescue the teenager.

She said: "Despite attempts to rescue the teenager, including an officer entering the water - who himself had to be assisted by a canoeist - the attempt to rescue him failed.

"A life aid was thrown to the male but the male went under the water. An officer then entered the canal in an attempt to rescue him. The police officer was then assisted and returned to the bank by a member of the public on a kayak."

The Daily Mirror quoted a force spokesman as saying he could not confirm whether the officer went in "while he was still visible of after he had disappeared under the water".

A post-mortem examination and formal identification has yet to take place.

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph