Confessions of an estate agent: 'Suddenly, we heard these faint, muffled cries of "Mummy, mummy!"'

Richard Carden is area manager of Jamesons, in Leeds
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The Independent Online

"A few years ago, I took a couple and their boisterous six-year-old son to view a four-bedroom Tudor farmhouse that had just come on to the market. The woman was about eight months pregnant, so they wanted to move to a larger house. It was a beautiful building; grade II-listed with low ceilings and beams everywhere. It was also in great condition, having been modernised to a high standard five years before.

"A few years ago, I took a couple and their boisterous six-year-old son to view a four-bedroom Tudor farmhouse that had just come on to the market. The woman was about eight months pregnant, so they wanted to move to a larger house. It was a beautiful building; grade II-listed with low ceilings and beams everywhere. It was also in great condition, having been modernised to a high standard five years before.

"The couple fell in love with the house and we started talking prices. We were looking at the outside of the building, checking the brickwork, when we noticed that the six-year-old had disappeared.

"We assumed that he'd run off round the corner – the garden was quite large – but he was nowhere to be seen. There was a rockery and a raised pond, but he wasn't there either. After about 10 minutes of calling for her son, the mother started to panic. We walked to the end of the garden, which was very overgrown and led onto a paddock. Suddenly, we heard these faint, muffled cries of "Mummy, Mummy!" and as we walked nearer the paddock, the sounds grew louder.

"It was only when the mother almost fell down a huge hole that we realised where the cries were coming from. There was a well in the ground that was completely hidden by grass and weeds. It must have been about 20 feet deep, and the boy was stuck at the bottom of it, in a great deal of pain. I called the fire brigade and tried to comfort the distraught parents, praying that this wouldn't induce an early labour for the mother. The fire brigade sent someone down the well to retrieve the boy but they couldn't get him out. Eventually, they set up a winch system and after about an hour and a half, managed to extract him. He had a broken leg and was rather bruised, but it could have been much worse; at least he was alive.

"The parents had become very distressed during the 'operation', but they were grateful for my efforts and later sent me a bottle of whisky. They said they appreciated that it was beyond anyone's control, but they did make a request for the owners to cover the well. The owners had lived there for 15 years and never ventured that far into the garden, so they didn't know it existed. The couple didn't buy the house – I think they thought it was a bad omen. But thanks to the coverage the accident received in a local paper, it sold two days later."

Jamesons, Leeds, 0113 225 1515

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