Woman held over death of boy found in rock pool aged two

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The Independent Online

Three small boys crouched over a rock pool at Coppet Hall Point in west Wales yesterday, fishing for crabs with their hands.

Three small boys crouched over a rock pool at Coppet Hall Point in west Wales yesterday, fishing for crabs with their hands.

The idyllic scene was only marred by the knowledge that, only a few feet away, the body of a toddler had been found face down in a similar pool.

Yesterday, as Dyfed Powys Police revealed that a 32-year-old woman, believed to be the boy's mother, had been arrested, people in the nearby town Saundersfoot were treating the news with incredulity.

On Tuesday morning, a man walking his dog near the rocks that flank Coppet Hall Bay discovered the dead two-year-old. An abandoned buggy was found near by.

Initially, the police and coastguard assumed something must have happened to his parents and launched an air-sea rescue. But, within a few hours, it was called off after an Afro-Caribbean woman was apprehended in the Carmarthen area. Yesterday, the woman, who detectives believed to be "connected to the child" was being questioned at a local police station.

The horror of what happened in their midst was slowly dawning on holidaymakers – most of whom return year after year – as well as the Pembrokeshire locals.

One fisherman was distraught to hear the news. Only a few hours earlier, his own children had been playing with an abandoned buggy on the beach.

"The thought that the little boy could have been near by distressed him," explained Darrell Jones, 66, owner of Bay Fishing Tackle shop.

"We are all very distressed. It is terrible – particularly for that woman.

"This community is like being in a family. It is a place where you can still walk away and leave your back door open. Nothing like this has happened before."

"It is a homely, innocent place, said Linda Brindley, who has been bringing first her children, then her grandchildren and foster charges to the town for 30 years. "We foster teenagers and bring them down here because you always know they will be safe."

Yesterday the police asked for anyone who had seen an African or Caribbean woman on the beach or at Saundersfoot railway station between 7.30pm on Monday and 10.30am on Tuesday to come forward.

It appears that the woman, from the Midlands, arrived by train on Monday night. Someone fitting her description and pushing a little boy in a buggy flagged down a local guesthouse owner to ask directions to the town. It is believed that she then tried to get a room at several hotels before being directed to the Edgecombe bed and ereakfast establishment where she checked in some time after 10pm.

Yesterday, forensic science officers were going through the small yellow and white house – dotted with plastic butterflies.

The ensuing hours, however, remain a mystery and it was not until 10.30am the following morning that the little boy was found. The child, a post-mortem examination confirmed, had drowned. Police said little more than the death was suspicious.