Pool death girl’s final moments

The Dalmeny Hotel in St Annes flies its flags at half-mast after a three year-old girl died in the hotel swimming pool.  PIC BY ROB LOCK
15-8-2014
The Dalmeny Hotel in St Annes flies its flags at half-mast after a three year-old girl died in the hotel swimming pool. PIC BY ROB LOCK 15-8-2014

Heartbreaking CCTV footage of a three-year-old girl trying to attract attention just moments before she drowned in a hotel pool has been shown to a court.

Toddler Jane Bell was on holiday with her family at the Dalmeny Hotel in St Annes when she got into trouble in the deep end.

On the first day of the inquest into her death, witnesses wept as they watched the footage as those at the pool side – and later paramedics – fought to save the little girl.

Det Chief Insp Dean Holden, of Lancashire Police’s Major Incident Team, played the CCTV footage of the pool area taken from the hotel’s own cameras.

It told the story of Bell family – mother Sarah, dad David and her six-year-old sister, from Gala, Scotland – enjoying their mid morning splash and swim with other guests on August 14, 2014.

Both Bell parents appear to leave Jane alone as she swims from the deep end to the shallow end and back to the deep end once more.

She is seen midway down the pool hanging onto the poolside and at one stage appears to be beckoning to her mother.

When it becomes clear she is in trouble a member of the hotel staff and a guest both try and bring her to the surface and out of the pool.

The harrowing pictures then show Jane being given heart massage and the kiss of life at the poolside before paramedics arrive.

Evidence was heard that the cause of death of the three-year-old was drowning.

She had been pulled from the pool at 11am and initially treated at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and then died at Royal Manchester Children Hospital nine hours later.

Her parents did not attend the first day of the hearing but the inquest heard statements they gave to police following the incident.

In her statement to police, mother Sarah told officers: “At one point I was in the deep end with Jane in my arms. I was supporting her in the water.

“Suddenly she slipped out of my grasp and went under the water.

“Despite the best efforts of all concerned it was a little time later she came to the surface. This was a tragic accident.”

At that time the mother had been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and child neglect. No criminal proceedings have been taken against her.

Her husband told told how he tried to fish his daughter’s body out of the 7ft deep end with a large net.

When a member of the public, a trained lifesaver, finally got the girl out of the water the father saw blood and water coming out of his daughter’s mouth.

He said that his daughter suffered three cardiac arrests after being pulled from the pool and at the Manchester hospital he asked the chaplain to baptise her before she died.

In all, Jane was at the bottom of the pool for just under two minutes.

Starting the hearing the coroner told a jury of six women and five men that he did have powers to bring to the attention of the authorities something which might stop a re-occurence of a similar tragedy. The hearing was told that despite numerous attempts to get Jane’s mother and father to attend the inquest, they had not turned up and were not expected to.

They had been telephoned and written to and the Coroner Alan Wilson had offered to send one of his staff to Scotland to explain the importance of them attending.

The coroner said that they could not be forced to give evidence as they lived outside the jurisdiction of the coroner, who only has powers in England and Wales.

“It is somewhat unusual that the mother and father have chosen not to attend,” said Mr Wilson.

His assistant John Sibbald gave evidence in which he said he had received a letter from the Bell’s GP which said Mrs Bell suffered “a pathological degree of shyness” outside her close family circle.

The doctor said that David Bell had suffered severe nervous depression as a result of his daughter’s death.

(Proceeding)