Plea after toddler's garden pond death

A FRIEND of a family devastated by the death of a toddler who drowned in a garden pond yesterday warned people to fill them in.Little Steven Pester fell in a pond in the large back garden of the family home in Bardfield Saling, near Braintree, after his father went into the house for five minutes.

By Juliette Maxam

A FRIEND of a family devastated by the death of a toddler who drowned in a garden pond yesterday warned people to fill them in.

Little Steven Pester fell in a pond in the large back garden of the family home in Bardfield Saling, near Braintree, after his father went into the house for five minutes.

Despite the efforts of doctors at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, to revive him, he died from drowning. He was just two years and two months old.


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Essex Coroner Caroline Beasley Murray yesterday recorded a verdict of accidental death at an inquest held in Chelmsford into Steven's death.

Afterwards, family friend, Ellie O'Conor, said: "You never think it will happen to you. Accidents can happen. Protect your child first. It can happen in a blink of an eye. For goodness sake fill in your pond if you have one."

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She added: "The family are devastated. Steven's death has had an impact on everybody."

The inquest heard on the day of Steven's death, August 11 last year, the boy's dad, also called Steven, had been looking after his son while his wife, Sue, took their two daughters to London for the day.

Father and son spent the day watching videos and playing in the garden. In the late afternoon Mr Pester left Steven outside while he went inside to do some clearing up.

"I went into the lounge to rewind the video. I walked into the kitchen. I looked out of the window and couldn't see him," said Mr Pester.

He went outside. The utility room door was shut, so he thought Steven might have shut himself inside, but he was not in there. He then looked in the shed, a couple of hundred feet down the garden, before finding his son in the pond.

He said he jumped into the pond to get Steven out and ran with him into the house. He called an ambulance and while he waited for it to arrive he tried to revive his son following instructions over the phone.

Mr Pester said a neighbour told him the ambulance went up and down the road because it could not find the Pesters' secluded home.

Mr Pester told Essex coroner Caroline Beasley Murray he was in the house for five minutes. He said he could not see the pond from the kitchen window because of a tree and bushes.

When Mrs Beasley Murray asked if there was any cover over the pond, he said: "I was going to put a fence round it, but I just hadn't done it."

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