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Tragic death of teen who drowned holding his breath in swimming pool
3:20pm Monday 11th June 2012 in News
A TEENAGER drowned trying to see how long he could hold his breath underwater, an inquest heard.
Reiss Morgan, 15, from South Ockendon, was swimming in the pool at Clearview Health and Racquet Club in Brentwood, when he died on July 30 2009.
At the hearing in Chelmsford, Essex coroner, Caroline Beasley-Murray, heard the fit and healthy teenager, who was a strong swimmer, had lost consciousness in the pool, and attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
Coroner’s officer Simon Oakley told the court “it was known that Reiss had an interest in seeing how long he could hold his breath underwater.”
Reiss was pronounced dead at Basildon Hospital.
At Newbridge House on Thursday, Mrs Beasley-Murray apologised to the teenager’s parents for the long delay in reopening the inquest, which was primarily down to the length of an investigation by Brentwood Borough Council.
She said: “This happened in July 2009 and here we are in 2012.
“This wait must have been extremely difficult for you.”
Mrs Beasley-Murray added that while it wasn’t in her “remit” to order it, she hoped the council would meet with the family to explain why the investigation, handed over to it by Essex Police in June 2010, had only been completed in February this year.
She said: “I do think the family deserve some kind of explanation outside this inquest.”
The court heard Essex Police were satisfied there was nothing suspicious about Reiss’ death, there was no third party involvement, and Brentwood District Council was not prosecuting the club.
Summing up her verdict of accident, Mrs Beasley-Murray said: “This was the most tragic of accidents.
“Clearly he was a much loved little boy, that shines through in all the paperwork.
”I hope you will be able to look back on happy, positive memories of him.”
Brentwood Borough Councillor Tony Sleep, chairman of the council’s environment panel, said it has apologised to Reiss’ family for the delay.
He said: “The time taken was due to the necessity of obtaining all available evidence as well as giving the company concerned the fullest of opportunities to comment and assist in the investigation.
“Health and safety investigations of this length are not unknown and it is important that they are thorough and balanced in their approach.
“The council has spoken to the bereaved parents and expressed its deepest sympathies and apologised for any distress caused by the time taken to complete this case.”
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