Police urged to act after inquest rules boy died unlawfully

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The Independent Online

A teenage schoolboy who drowned on an outdoor activity trip was killed unlawfully, an inquest jury ruled. Now police are being urged to reopen a criminal investigation into the death of 16-year-old Herve Bola, from Woodford Green in north-east London.

A teenage schoolboy who drowned on an outdoor activity trip was killed unlawfully, an inquest jury ruled. Now police are being urged to reopen a criminal investigation into the death of 16-year-old Herve Bola, from Woodford Green in north-east London.

The inquest heard how he had panicked and drowned within seconds of leaping into freezing water at the Sgwd y Gladys Falls in the Neath Valley, south Wales, while on a trip with a dozen other youngsters.

All the teenage members of the group who gave evidence said that they had heard a part-time youth worker, Daniel Brown - then aged 21 and working for Redbridge council, call on Herve, who was a non-swimmer, to jump into the pool moments before he drowned.

Mr Brown denied their charge - as did all staff members in the party called to give evidence to the inquest.

Frances Bola, Herve's grandmother, with whom he lived, said the Crown Prosecution Service and the police should now reopen the criminal investigation into her grandson's death with a view to bringing a prosecution.

"I am very, very happy with this verdict but somebody should have taken action to ensure a non-swimmer did not swim," she said.

"I cannot believe that they allowed Herve to go into the water when they knew he could not swim. After this verdict, the police should go out and do their job - the truth came out today."

Gethin Lewis, head of the National Union of Teachers in Wales, said he found the verdict "very, very deeply disturbing" and would consider a legal challenge.

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