Girl Drowned In Understaffed Pool

A Chelmsford Coroner’s Court jury has returned a verdict of accidental death from immersion on seven-year-old Michelle Gellard, found at the bottom of a swimming pool at Blackwater Leisure Centre in Essex.

During the case, the court heard that half the recommended number of lifeguards were on duty at the time of the incident in June, 2008.

Leisure Connection runs the leisure centre on behalf of Maldon District Council along with another 90 swimming pools across the UK.

Michelle’s family has launched a civil action while criminal proceedings from the Health and Safety Executive are anticipated.

In a statement following the verdict, Leisure Connection offered their sympathies: “The Company acknowledges the thanks that were offered at the Inquest, on behalf of Michelle Gellard’s family, to its Duty Manager and lifeguards for all that they did to attempt to save Michelle’s life.

“Leisure Connection remains fully committed to ensuring that its policy and procedures comply with all health and safety requirements and that its staff receive the highest quality training and support.”