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Nigel de Gruchy of NASUWT
"There is so much risk involved"
 real 28k

The BBC's Mike Baker
"The school is really still in shock"
 real 28k

Michael Peters, Lambeth council
"The French police are looking at all the issues"
 real 28k

Friday, 6 July, 2001, 20:05 GMT 21:05 UK
Bunmi's death accidental, says autopsy
Gendarmes pull out a white stretcher from the Lac de Caniel
The body was found three days after Bunmi vanished
A post mortem on schoolgirl Bunmi Shagaya, whose body was found in a lake in northern France, has revealed that she drowned.

A spokesman from the British Embassy in Paris said the cause of death was given as accidental.

There were no grounds for suspicion, he added.

The 11-year-old's body was recovered on Thursday morning, three days after she went missing during a school visit to a lake near Dieppe.

On Friday, the Shagaya family, from Lambeth, south London, were too upset to speak about the tragedy and are likely to have to wait until next week before Bunmi's body is flown home.

Investigation

An investigation by French police is continuing into whether the teachers from Hill Mead Primary School in Brixton were negligent in the minutes before Bunmi's death.

A decision on whether to pursue any charges against the teachers would be made later this weekend or early next week, the Embassy spokesman said.

Lambeth Council announced on Friday it would be commissioning an independent inquiry into the death.

There will also be a full police inquiry into Bunmi's death.

Bunmi
Bunmi: Not a strong swimmer

The school in London remained shut on Friday as a mark of respect.

French police believed Bunmi, who was not a strong swimmer, probably drowned after becoming tangled up in thick weeds while paddling in the lake.

A French magistrate is also expected to investigate the wider issues such as supervision, lifeguards, and the safety of the swimming area.

Family devastated

Bunmi's body was found less than 10 metres from where the youngster was last seen alive.

On Wednesday a classmate had pointed out to police where he had seen Bunmi walking along the beach towards a nearby wooden jetty.

The Shagaya family, who had made an emotional appeal for Bunmi's return, visited the lakeside on Thursday, where her mother collapsed with grief.

Bunmi's family pictured before the body was found
Bunmi's family has been devastated
Up to 100 police officers had been carrying out a meticulous search of the man-made Lac de Caniel, which is up to six metres deep in places, for three days.

They had also been searching nearby land.

The search of the lake had been severely hampered by thick weeds in the water.

It was understood that an officer eventually spotted the body in a shallow, paddling pool area of the lake, just yards from where Bunmi was last seen.

A French official said the body must have been tangled in weeds on the bottom of the water before rising to the surface.

Adult supervision

Despite appeals for witnesses - the lake was very crowded on Monday - no-one has claimed to have seen Bunmi in difficulties in the water.

Bunmi was discovered missing during a "routine headcount" by staff after the visit to the lake.

There were 41 children and six adults, including the headmaster, on the holiday - the school's first trip abroad.

This was well within government guidelines for swimming trips, which recommends a ratio of one adult for 10 children.

The trip was cut short, with the group arriving back at the school at 0530BST on Thursday.

Lambeth Council said: "There are many important questions surrounding Bunmi's last moments, to which we do not yet have the answers".

It said it would be questioning staff "as soon as is appropriate".

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See also:

04 Jul 01 | Education
Teachers' tight guidelines for trips
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