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Last Updated: Friday, 21 September 2007, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Police defend drowning death case
Jordon Lyon
Jordon was pulled from the water but could not be resuscitated

Police chiefs have defended two community support officers (PCSOs) who did not enter the water as a 10-year-old boy drowned in a pond.

Jordon Lyon leapt into the water in Wigan, Greater Manchester, after his eight-year-old stepsister Bethany got into difficulties on 3 May.

Two anglers jumped in and saved Bethany but Jordon became submerged.

The inquest into his death heard the PCSOs did not rescue him as they were not trained to deal with the incident.

Jordon was playing at the edge of the pond, known locally as John Pit, off Wigan Lower Road, in Standish Lower Ground, with his two brothers, stepbrother and stepsister on 3 May.

He was trying to support Bethany as she struggled in the six-feet-deep water before slipping from view.

Anglers managed to pull Bethany out but Jordon was out of sight before they could get to him.

The alarm was raised and the PCSOs arrived on the scene. Police said they could see no sign of Jordon in the water, so they radioed trained officers for help.

Greater Manchester Police said an officer was on the scene within five minutes.

Tracy Ganderton
If you're walking down the street and you see a child drowning you automatically go in that water
Tracy Ganderton, mother

Members of Jordon's family also rushed to the scene to join the search.

He was eventually pulled from the pond but despite attempts to resuscitate him he was later pronounced dead in hospital.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded.

His mother, Tracy Ganderton, and stepfather Anthony, of Bluebell Avenue, Wigan, are demanding to know why the PCSOs did not try to rescue Jordon and why they did not give evidence at the inquest held by deputy West Manchester coroner Alan Walsh.

Mr Ganderton told the inquest: "I don't know why they didn't go in. I can't understand it.

"If I had been walking along a canal and seen a child drowning I would have jumped in.

"You don't have to be trained to jump in after a drowning child."

Mrs Ganderton said on Friday that the PCSOs in question should be named.

"If you're walking down the street and you see a child drowning you automatically go in that water.

John Pit
The pond is at a well-known beauty spot in Wigan

"You don't care if you're going to lose your job or not, you don't care do you?

"I want them to be named. I want to know why they didn't go in, I want to know why they weren't at the inquest when I had to turn up there, and go through the pain of it all.

"I want to know why they didn't have to be there as main witnesses.

"They should have to be there. They shouldn't have a job."

In a statement after the hearing, Det Ch Insp Phil Owen, of Wigan CID, who led the investigation into Jordon's death, said: "PCSOs are not trained to deal with major incidents such as this.

"Both ourselves and the fire brigade regularly warn the public of the dangers of going into unknown stretches of water so it would have been inappropriate for PCSOs, who are not trained in water rescue, to enter the pond.

"This was a tragic incident where a young boy lost his life and we would once again want to pass on our heartfelt condolences to Jordon's family."

'Life-saving skills'

Paul Kelly, chairman of the Police Federation in Manchester, said PCSOs do not have the same level of training as police officers to deal with life-saving situations.

He said: "The message is clear and unambiguous - it's the government, they are trying to fool the public.

"They take a person and dress him up as a police officer but they just don't have the same powers.

"Every single police officer I trained with left training school with a life-saving certificate of some sort."

He said the PCSOs might not have been able to swim and in that case they should not have risked their lives.

But he added: "People throw themselves into rivers and ponds to save people every day because it's the right thing to do.

"This is an accident waiting to happen again."

West Lancashire Coroner Jennifer Leeming said: "Neither myself or the Deputy Coroner can comment on individual cases but the statement put out by Greater Manchester Police reflects the evidence that was given in the courtroom."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Statement by Greater Manchester Police



SEE ALSO
Pond boy died after saving sister
04 May 07 |  Manchester
Schoolboy dies after pond rescue
04 May 07 |  Manchester

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