Toddler, 2, tragically drowned in front of his cousin after falling into lake on day out | The Sun

A TODDLER drowned in front of his cousin after falling into a lake while on a day out, an inquest heard.

Greyson Birch, two, was being looked after by 18-year-old Lewis Birch when the teen heard a "splash".

He ran over to find the toddler "thrashing about and turning blue" after he fell in Swanwick Lake in Hampshire.

Greyson was rushed to hospital but sadly died from an "unsurvivable" injury caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain.

An inquest heard how Lewis had taken his cousin to the New Forest and then Burger King on May 30, 2021.

The autistic teen then messaged Greyson's mum Kirsty Birch to say he was going to the park to "tire" the toddler out.

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Ms Birch told Lewis to be careful by the water, prompting him to Google: "What to do if a two year old falls in a lake".

Lewis told the inquest how Greyson had wanted to see the ducks and throw sticks in the lake so they wandered down to the water.

The teen then needed to relieve himself so had turned his back on the youngster when Greyson fallen in.

Lewis said he watched his cousin "turn blue" and attempted to reach him by laying on the ground with his arm stretched out.

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The hearing was told Lewis then text his aunt when he saw Greyson's mouth "filling up with water".

Ms Birch told Lewis to jump in but he replied, saying: "I can't swim".

When firefighters arrived at the scene, they found the water was waist or chest height with Greyson just 3m from the edge of the jetty.

Lewis later told police "if I had known that I would have jumped in" but said the water was too cloudy to tell the depth.

One emergency responder told the inquest: "[Lewis] stated it wasn't his fault and he did everything he could.

"When he turned to pull his trousers up he heard a scream and a splash. [Greyson] was thrashing about, waving his hands above his head. He rang his aunt and then the ambulance.

"He kept repeatedly saying he hadn't done anything wrong."

No charges were brought against Lewis as there wasn't "sufficient evidence" to to prove he had willingly neglected the toddler.

Area Coroner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

She said: "This is obviously an extremely sad case. Any case involving a young child is a tragedy – especially for the parents."

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The coroner continued: "I agree that it was a preventable death, if Lewis hadn't taken him to the water, taken his eyes off him – it really is just a tragedy."

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