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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 July, 2004, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Council is sued after girl drowns
Bunmi Shagaya
Bunmi drowned during the school's first overseas trip
The parents of an 11-year-old girl who died on a school trip in France are suing their local council.

Bunmi Shagaya drowned in a lake at Cany-Barville in July 2001, during a trip with 40 classmates from Hill Mead School in Brixton, south London.

The French authorities are still deciding whether to prosecute four teachers for involuntary homicide.

A Lambeth Council statement said they had not been served with any legal proceedings issued by Bunmi's family.

It read that they had "always expressed its deepest sympathy with the family of Bunmi, and would like to take this opportunity to do so again".

"The council regrets the continuing delays in finalising the judicial process in France", it added.

We are of the opinion that a child in the care of a teachers on a school trip should not die
Family solicitor Terry Donovan
The family's solicitor said civil proceedings against Lambeth Council have begun, to claim compensation.

Bunmi, whose full name was Olubunmi, was found floating in reeds in shallow water 40 feet from where 16 other children were swimming under supervision.

The outing to Normandy was the school's first overseas trip.

The family's solicitor Terry Donovan said they have become frustrated with the delays in France.

A UK inquest is also on hold until the French process takes it course.

"There was meant to be a hearing in France last week which was cancelled at the last minute," Mr Donovan told BBC News Online.

'Psychiatric trauma'

"It has now been adjourned to the autumn. The family are very frustrated at the delays."

Mr Donovan said "We are claiming general damages for the psychiatric trauma caused by the bereavement.

"We are of the opinion that a child in the care of teachers on a school trip should not die."

He said he could not put a figure on the amount of compensation they are looking for as experts still have to asses the parents' level of pain and suffering.

The case is not expected to go to court for at least 18 months, but Mr Donovan said he hoped Lambeth Council would accept liability.




SEE ALSO:
Bunmi: Charges to be considered
13 Jul 01  |  UK News
Bunmi inquest adjourned
12 Jul 01  |  UK News


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