Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Katie Weston

Four boys who died falling into Solihull lake are pictured as families pay tribute

The four boys aged six to 11 who tragically died after falling into a frozen lake have today been pictured.

Brothers Samuel, six, and eight-year-old Finlay Butler both perished along with their 11-year-old cousin Thomas Stewart and hero Jack, who ran in to try and save the youngsters at Babbs Mill nature reserve in Solihull on Sunday afternoon.

A father of one of the children, a dog walker and a student police officer also waded into the icy water in a desperate attempt to rescue them.

Finlay, Samuel and Thomas' family has now paid tribute to their "beautiful boys", saying they are "devastated" at their loss.

Thomas’ older brother also remembered his sibling as a "lively little soul" and cousin "who loved dinosaurs so much" ahead of the sad news yesterday that Sam had died.

Jack Johnson, 10, died a hero as he tried to rescue three other youngsters (facebook)
Jack with his father Kirk (Facebook)

In a statement released by West Midlands Police, the parents said: “As a family we are devastated at the loss of our beautiful boys Tom, Fin and Sam in such tragic circumstances.

"We would like to thank the emergency services for all they did in rescuing the boys and to the community for their support, it has been overwhelming.

“We would like to pass on our condolences to Jack’s family at this very sad time, and ask for privacy from the media to begin to grieve.”

Thomas' brother previously wrote: “Thomas was such a lively little soul, he had a big heart for such a young kid and he was so beautiful. He loved being outside playing with his mates.

Brothers Finlay and Samuel Butler (Police handout)
Finlay and Samuel's cousin, Thomas Stewart (West Midlands Police)

"I love you Tom, big bro will take care of the family and I will see you soon. Make sure you keep practising on warzone and get a win, will you?

“Can’t forget about my dinosaur man Fin, he loved dinosaurs so much and always showing me new things he built on Minecraft and all the new stuff he learnt on it. Gonna miss you little man.”

Floral tributes left at Babbs Mill Lake yesterday (Joseph Walshe / SWNS)

Extensive underwater searches were carried out and have now concluded.

Superintendent Rich Harris said: “This is a tragedy beyond words and a grief that is unimaginable for the families and friends of the boys.

"The support from the community has been overwhelming, not just for the bereaved families, but also for the emergency services, for which we are extremely grateful.

Brothers Finlay and Samuel Butler, and their cousin Thomas Stewart (left to right) (West Midlands Police)

"Our officers will remain in the area in the coming days. Please come and speak to us if you need to."

An official fundraiser has also been set up for the four boys' families, raising over £23,000 at the time of writing. It has the backing of the families involved, being shared online by a number of relatives.

The GoFundMe page reads: "Our hearts are broken for the four Little Princes.

West Midlands Police officers lay flowers at the scene (Darren Quinton/Birmingham Live)

"On Sunday, 11th December 2022, a group of children played in a local park near an open lake. Being children and adventurous, they forgot the dangers taught by their parents and risked going onto the icy lake.

"Four boys fell through the ice and into the lake. The frantic father of one of the lads and a dog walker entered the lake to try and help the boys. The emergency and rescue services arrived promptly and began the rescue.

"Sadly, Jack (aged 10) and a young boy (aged 11) lost their lives on Sunday, 11th December 2022. Another young boy (aged 8) passed away in the early hours of the morning on Monday, 12th December 2022.

"The younger brother of the 8-year-old, aged 6, remained in critical condition until Wednesday, 14th December 2022, when sadly, he gave up his fight and gained his wings."

A floral tribute left by Villa players at Babbs Mill Park (Rowan Griffiths / Daily Mirror)

Brave Jack died a hero after falling in while trying to save the other children.

The fundraiser adds: "No parent expects to lose their children so young, and sadly, no amount of money would ever place them back in our arms, but with our help, we can hopefully ease the worry of the financial costs they will need to meet."

A candlelit vigil was held for the victims on Monday night, and a second one will take place this Saturday at 4pm.

Jack's aunt, Charlotte McIlmurray, encouraged anyone wishing to pay their respects to gather where flowers are being laid on Fordbridge Road.

Locals gathered for a vigil at Babbs Mill Park on Monday (Rowan Griffiths / Daily Mirror)

She wrote: "This is so amazing of all the community in this nightmare that two families can't wake from.

"The pain is unimaginable and he was my nephew so I know the pain is a million times worse for their moms, dads, sisters/brothers.

Emergency services were first called to the scene at 2.36pm on Sunday, where it was reported four children had been playing on the ice and fallen through into the lake.

A family friend told MailOnline: "The boys had gone to the park with their cousin Thomas to feed the ducks. They went out on the ice and then one fell through the ice and others went to help and fell in.

An organised vigil near the lake earlier this week (Joseph Walshe SWNS)

"Finlay and Thomas — as well as this poor boy Jack — died on Sunday. And then Sam passed away yesterday."

Temperatures are thought to have plunged to 1C (34F) in the area at the time of the incident, falling to minus 3C (26F) overnight.

Members of the public and police officers initially went into the chilly waters to try to get the youngsters out, before the children were reached by specialist water rescue-trained firefighters who got the group to safety.

Those pulled from the water were given immediate life support by ambulance and fire service personnel before being rushed to two Birmingham hospitals; Birmingham Children's and Heartlands, where they all arrived in critical condition.

The fire crew from Sheldon Red Watch lay flowers at Babbs Mill Park (Rowan Griffiths / Daily Mirror)

West Midlands Police confirmed the death of the youngest victim last night.

The force said in a statement: "It is with heartfelt sadness we have to report this afternoon, the six-year-old in hospital has lost his fight for life.

"Our deepest sympathies are with the families and friends of those involved in this tragedy. We cannot comprehend the enormity of the pain they must feel and our hearts go out to them.

"Specialist officers remain in contact with the family and we will issue further information as soon as we can."

West Midlands Fire Service area commander Richard Stanton said the deaths of the three boys were a tragic reminder of the dangers of open water.

You can donate to the fundraiser here.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.