Maldon: Inquest opens into pool death of girl, 7

THE inquest into the death of a seven-year-old girl in a swimming pool at an Essex leisure centre started today.

Michelle Gellard died at Blackwater Leisure Centre in Park Drive, Maldon, on June 14, 2008, after visiting the centre with her mother, Sian Lakey, to compete in a judo competition.

After taking part in the event Michelle went for a swim in the pool while her mother remained in the main hall with her niece who was still in the competition.

Ms Lakey, of east London, said she had initially refused Michelle permission to swim, but eventually agreed after another parent offered to supervise her daughter in the pool.

The girl was later pulled from the water by staff and fellow swimmers after being spotted floating on the water by a member of the public.

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At today’s inquest in Chelmsford, medical experts including pathologist Dr Rouse and neuropathologist Dr Al-Sarraj gave evidence into the death.

Dr Rouse stated the death was caused by drowning and gave four possible scernarios which could’ve led to the tragedy.

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These included straight-forward drowning in the pool; a head injury from a fall which may have rendered her unconscious and led to the drowning; a cardiac “event”; or choking on her own vomit.

The inquest heard Michelle had suffered a mild head injury at some point before she entered the pool, either from a fall or in the judo competition she had earlier competed in.

After failed attempts by St John Ambulance crew to resuscitate the youngster at the scene, she was taken by air ambulance to Colchester General Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The inquest continues.

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