Family demands answers over six-year-old’s death
THE parents of a child who died during a Scout trip in west Suffolk last night made an impassioned plea for answers.
Allan and Sharon Lock, of Acton, near Sudbury, are bracing themselves for the inquest into the death of their popular son, Alan, who died after falling into the River Stour in June last year.
Yesterday, the couple spoke of their hope that the inquest – to be held in Bury St Edmunds next week – would help them understand how the six-year-old died.
What is already known is that Alan fell into the river at Ballington Bridge in Sudbury during a nature trail outing with his Beaver Scout group.
He was pulled from the water. But despite desperate attempts to revive him, he died later in hospital.
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Mr and Mrs Lock said: “If Alan had been more adventurous by nature, it might have been easier to comprehend how this could have happened, but he was very placid and relatively cautious.
“We have been devastated by the loss of our son and it is very important for us to understand exactly what happened and why.”
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The jury inquest will be overseen by the Greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean and is expected to last for three days.
Alan’s parents will be represented at the inquest by the barrister Robert Horner on behalf of Kester Cunningham John Solicitors.
Personal injury specialist for the legal firm Hannah Rutterford said: “We will be there on behalf of Allan and Sharon to assist the coroner with a view to establishing all the facts and circumstances surrounding Alan’s tragic death. “His parents are inevitably devastated by his death, and want to do all they can to ensure that more stringent safety procedures are put in place in future if there is any chance that this might prevent future deaths.
“It is important that these sorts of outings are able to take place as they are a very valuable part of our children’s education, but it is equally important that all realistic measures are taken to ensure the children’s safety.
“The Scout Association were fully compliant with the adult to child ratios required by health and safety legislation but the number of adults present is not in isolation a guarantee of maximum safety.”
Simon Carter, spokesman for the Scouts’ Association, said the organisation would not be commenting until after the inquest.