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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Ellen Kirwin & Josh Sandiford

Boys who drowned in frozen Solihull lake 'tried to help each other'

Four boys who fell through an icy lake in Solihull died after drowning in a "terrible accident", a coroner has concluded.

Jack Johnson, 10, Thomas Stewart, 11, and his cousins, Finlay Butler, eight, and Samuel Butler, six, all died after falling into Babbs Mill Lake on December 11, 2022. The court heard that the children had been skimming stones and feeding the ducks before the tragedy.

Summing up the evidence, Senior coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, Ms Louise Hunt commended the emergency services including police who formed a human chain. She noted the environmental conditions would have been challenging.

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Ms Hunt added: "The very sad conclusion I have to reach is that each boy died as a result of drowning having fallen in the freezing cold water. I'm satisfied the emergency services on the scene undertook considerable efforts to try and save the boys and treat them at the scene.

"I'm satisfied the treatment of each boy at hospital was in accordance with acceptable protocol. Everyone did all they could and they should be commended for their actions. But unfortunately sadly each boy has died as a result of a terrible accident."

The inquest heard that witnesses had said that Jack had walked out over the ice and was joined by Fin who began chatting to Jack. Fin was the first to fall through the ice.

Brothers Finlay (left) and Samuel with their cousin Thomas Stewart (right) who have been named as three of the children who died after falling through ice at Babbs Mill Park in Kingshurst (West Midlands Police/PA Wire)

As he went into the lake, his older cousin, Tom, who had been chatting to a friend, ran out to try to help him and fell in. Jack then tired to save them and also fell through. No one witnessed Sam falling in but the assumption was that he had rushed to try to help the others.

DI Edmonds said: "On Fin falling through the lake that prompted Tom to go out to the location where the fall had taken place to assist. Tragically Tom then falls through the ice. Jack tried to save Tom and Fin but unfortunately he also falls through the ice into the water."

DI Edmonds said witnesses soon became aware Sam had also fallen into the ice. He added: "While that event isn't witnessed, our assumption is he has rushed towards the danger to help."

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