Major investigation into river tragedy

A MAJOR investigation has been launched after a six-year-old beaver scout died in an accident regarded as “every parent's worst nightmare”.

Dave Gooderham

A MAJOR investigation has been launched after a six-year-old beaver scout died in an accident regarded as “every parent's worst nightmare”.

Alan Lock was described as a “gorgeous little boy” by his grieving family after he died when he was pulled from an isolated spot of the River Stour in Sudbury.

Detectives were last night no nearer to determining how the youngster got into trouble at the Suffolk beauty spot while on an organised trip with the 1st Acton and Waldingfield Scout Group.

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They have launched an investigation alongside the Scout Association after a family member admitted she was “struggling to come to terms” with how the accident took place.

The parents of Alan - who lived in Acton and went to the village primary school - were last night too upset to talk, but floral tributes were left at the scene of Tuesday night's accident.

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And second cousin, Trudi Staples, said: “He was a gorgeous little boy and the world will be a much emptier place without him.

“I am struggling to come to terms with how this happened on an organised trip. I often take school children out and am fully aware of all the procedures you put into place to safeguard our children. RIP little angel.”

The tragedy occurred at just before 7.30pm as the scout group took part in what was described as a regular exercise.

It is believed there were between 15 and 20 children - aged between six and eight - and adults in the party. Under normal scouting rules, there would be four or five adults in a group this size.

It is thought that Alan's body was dragged from the river by a group leader before paramedics were called. The youngster was taken to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds where he later died.

It is believed that the mother of the child quickly rushed to the scene.

Diana Bonnar, headteacher at Acton Primary School, said: “At this precise moment, our thoughts are with the family and Alan's younger brother and we are doing all we can to support the children at the school.”

Suffolk Constabulary's major investigation team, which is handling the case, said they were unclear how the incident happened and were treating the death as “unexplained”.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “An investigation into his death is underway with the assistance of partner agencies. Our thoughts are with the family of the boy and we are offering them any support they may need during this difficult time, as we seek to establish the circumstances which led to this tragic death.”

A spokesman for the Scout Association said it was “extremely rare” for a tragedy like this to occur on a scouting trip but pledged to carry out a full inquiry to establish if any lessons could be learned.

Anyone with information about the accident should contact Det Sgt Ann Naylor at Sudbury CID on 01473 613500.

Your tributes: Sudbury river tragedyYour tributes: Sudbury river tragedyParents tell of devastationParents tell of devastationScout bosses: All leaders are trainedScout bosses: All leaders are trainedTributes flood in for little AlanTributes flood in for little Alan

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