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Toddler "obsessed with water" drowned

Published date: 09 May 2014 |
Published by: Jonathan Grieve
Read more articles by Jonathan Grieve


 

A TODDLER who drowned in a pond near his family home was obsessed with water, an inquest heard.

Two-year-old Harvey-Lee Williams was found face down in a neighbour’s garden pond in Froncysyllte, between Chirk and Llangollen, last December.
 

Harvey-Lee, who was autistic, and his family had been due to move out of their rented home in Pleasant View on the day of his death.
 

They were moving to a new house which would have been safer for him because it had an enclosed garden.
In a joint statement at an inquest held in Ruthin yesterday, Harvey-Lee’s mother Amy Leach (formerly Dipper) and her partner Daniel Leach said Harvey-Lee had poor mobility balance and would often fall over or bump into things.
 

He was described as a boy “obsessed with water” who liked puddles and would play with taps if he had the chance.
Mr Leach searched frantically for him when they realised he was no longer with his four-year old brother shortly before noon on December 9.
 

He checked the garden shed and nearby woods twice before finding the little boy face down in the pond about 20 minutes later.
Mr Leach jumped in and pulled Harvey-Lee out before trying to revive him but his eyes were partially closed and he was not breathing. He also had a large bump on his head.


Mr Leach said it “seemed a lifetime” before the ambulance arrived to take Harvey-Lee to Wrexham Maelor Hospital, where he died.
Mr Leach and his partner were holding him as he took his last breath.
They said: “We as a family miss him greatly. He was so loved by us all.”
 

The inquest heard Harvey-Lee had wandered off from the home once previously, although on that occasion he was found safely shortly afterwards.
He had only recently worked out how to open doors and Mr Leach said he thought the boy might have been aware of the neighbour’s pond because he sometimes parked his car nearby, carrying Harvey-Lee past it on the way back to the house.
 

A post-mortem examination conducted at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool revealed the cause of death was drowning.
 

Returning a conclusion of accidental death, North Wales (East and Central) coroner John Gittins told the family he hoped the passage of time would lift the burden they were under.
He said: "This was an accident, pure and simple. Your eye was taken off him for just a moment but unfortunately, in these circumstances, that was all it took.
“He had seen an opportunity and being an inquisitive youngster, full of life and full of get up and go, he wanted to have a look.
“Sadly, he fell in the pond as a result of that particular exploration.
“While there is little comfort I can give your for the loss of your son, I have no doubt this is an occasion that simply will happen sometimes.”

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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