POOL VICTIM: Mother demands answers

Paul Jeeves

THE mother of an eight-year-old boy who drowned in a Yorkshire leisure centre’s swimming pool demanded answers yesterday over why more could not have been done to save her son.

Kaimen Ward, who celebrated his birthday along with his twin sister only a week ago, had gone with two friends and three adults to Hambleton Leisure Centre in Northallerton, where the tragedy happened.

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He was taken to the Friarage Hospital in the town after being pulled from the water at about 4.25pm on Wednesday, but was pronounced dead when efforts to revive him failed.

His mother, Caroline Ward, 41, who lives in Northallerton, was not at the swimming pool with her son and police told her of the death.

Yesterday the terrace home she shared with Kaimen and his twin sister, Ella Rose, still had birthday cards on display for the youngsters.

Ms Ward, who also has a 19-year-old son and is separated from Kaimen’s father, said: “What I want to know is where the hell were the lifeguards? It is peak season at the swimming pool, so how did he go unsupervised?”

She added: “He had just turned eight last Wednesday. He was such a lovely boy. His sister doesn’t know why he hasn’t come home. I want answers as to how this was allowed to happen.”

It emerged yesterday that Kaimen got into difficulty only minutes before he was due to get out of the pool before swimming lessons were to start.

Hambleton District Council, which runs the leisure centre, confirmed yesterday that three lifeguards had been on duty – as well as at least two swimming tutors. Two lifeguards and one of the swimming teachers attempted to resuscitate Kaimen for 15 minutes on the poolside.

The council’s cabinet member for health, Coun Peter Wilkinson, whose responsibilities include leisure services, said the authority had launched its own investigation.

Coun Wilkinson stressed that he was not aware of any other drownings in the council’s four pools in more than three decades.

He added: “We offer our sincere condolences to the family of this little boy. We could play the blame game right now, but that wouldn’t change the tragedy of this eight-year-old boy losing his life.”

A North Yorkshire Police investigation was continuing yesterday. The leisure centre is expected to remain closed until further notice.

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