Teenager drowned in town pond

A TEENAGER accidentally drowned after attempting to swim in an Ipswich pond, an inquest heard.

Ashley Dorling, 15, from Lavender Hill, Ipswich, tragically died on Saturday, July 4, 2009, after visiting a pond near Jovian Way with his older brother Gary and best friend, Liam Vinyard.

An inquest into the death, held at Ip-city in Hawes Street, Ipswich, yesterday, saw several witnesses reflect on the events of the tragic day.

It was heard that the trio had visited the pond on a hot summer’s day with the intention to go swimming, on approaching the pond they had asked a fisherman whether the pond was deep - to which he answered yes.

Liam and Ashley, who was not a strong swimmer, entered the murky deep waters, however soon after being immersed Ashley came into difficulty and both Liam and Gary frantically attempted to rescue him.


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Emergency services were called to the scene by a member of the public at about 4.10pm after hearing shouting. On arrival officers and paramedics dived in the water in attempts to trace Ashley.

Despite their efforts they were unable to find the teen for more than an hour. When the fire service located Ashley he was showing no signs of life - he was taken to Ipswich Hospital where he was confirmed dead at 6.04pm.

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Officers at the scene recalled seeing bubbles rise from the pond for a short time until the water became still.

In a series of statements by officers and paramedics, it was heard that the efforts to save Ashley had been hindered by the dirty water, thick sand at the bottom of the pond and objects such as shopping trolleys and tyres. Officers also reported finding three cans of Stella Artois by the river bank.

David Sexby, the paramedic who was first at the scene, said he had asked for the nearby life ring but it had not been in its casing at the time of the incident and was missing.

Issues surrounding access to the pond was also voiced, with fencing only surrounding half of the area.

Greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean concluded that the former Holywells High School pupil had drowned as a result of a tragic accident.

Dr Dean later asked the two parties who own the pond – 60per cent is owned by Crest Nicholson East and 40pc privately owned by the Stock family of Leiston – to look at aspects of security in terms of fencing off the area completely.

Ms Stock, present at the inquest, said that the family would build a fence if it was deemed necessary.

Ashley’s mum, Rosemary Dorling said: “I would like to personally thank all of the paramedics, police officers and members of the fire service that tried so hard to help Ashley.

“The past year has been extremely difficult for the whole family

“I wish more than anything that he could be here with me now. If the life belt had of been in a better position then it could have saved his life. Something needs to be done otherwise a tragedy will strike again.”

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