Canal boy ‘overreached while picking berries’

A BOY who drowned in a canal had overreached while picking blackberries with his cousin, an inquest heard yesterday.

Matthew Cartwright, eight, was playing with his cousin near the South Yorkshire Navigation Canal at Swinton Lock on August Bank Holiday Monday teatime.

Coroner’s officer Pc Paul Hawker, reading from a police statement, told the Doncaster inquest: “Matthew decided to go blackberry picking in the bushes at the side of the canal.

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“He stood too close to the canal bank and fell in.”

The boy’s cousin attempted to pull him from the canal but had to run for help. Police officers eventually dragged Matthew from the canal.

Matthew, of Windhill Avenue, Mexborough was taken to Rotherham District Hospital and then airlifted to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, but died the next day.

In another statement read at the brief hearing, Matthew’s mother, Donna Marie Bradshaw, said her son had been placed on a life-support machine.

She was present at his bedside when he died at 10.10pm last Tuesday.

Residents of Talbot Road, where Matthew fell into the water, have started a petition to fence off the area to try to prevent a similar tragedy.

Matthew was a pupil at Windhill Primary School and counsellors have been helping children affected by his death as they returned for the new school term.

Matthew’s body was released for burial. Coroner Nicola Mundy adjourned the inquest for a full hearing and said police investigations were still continuing.