'Accidental death' on boy drowning

Published: Friday, 02 December 2011

A VERDICT of accidental death was given on the boy who fell into a lock at Stourport after he attempted to cycle across the narrow boaters' bridge.

The boy Robert Fidoe attempted to cycle across the the narrow bridge at a Stourport Basin lock on the Staffs & Works Canal in early June of this year, rather than use the nearby footbridge, and fell off his cycle into the lock, as was reported in narrowboatworld.

No life buoy

At the inquest it was told that passers-by tried to help the boy, but there was no life buoy available that could have been thrown to him.

The 12 years old boy subsequently drowned in the lock, and it was stated at the inquest that he was pulled out from the bottom of the lock half an hour later.

Insisted on riding

In a statement by his friend Edward Taylor who was also cycling, it was read out that Robert insisted upon riding over the narrow 20in bridge to cross the lock.  Edward could not swim, and therefore did not attempt a rescue.

An observer of the tragedy, Fredrick McQueen told the inquest that he thought the boys were messing about, but the one in the water went under again, and did not resurface.  He stated that he looked around for a pole or life buoy, but could find nothing.  There was a life buoy at the upper basin.

Banning cycling

However, he admitted there were signs banning cycling, and the edge of the lock and the side of the bridge's parapet were clearly marked.

Worcestershire coroner, Geraint Williams, observed that one of Robert's bike pedals had possibly struck the side of the bridge throwing him off. He dismissed the need for specific warning signs because some things were 'inherently dangerous'.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded.