Inquest hears grandmother and grandson, six, died at Holywell lake after going to feed the ducks

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An inquest has heard a six-year-old boy and his grandmother drowned in a lake while feeding the ducks.

Laurie Mills, and his grandmother Dawn Mullany, 71, were discovered in the lake at Holywell, near Castle Bytham.

An inquest in Boston yesterday (Thursday) heard that Laurie had spent time with his gran at her home in Castle Bytham during the half-term holiday.

Laurie’s mother Asmina, Mrs Mullany’s daughter, raised the alarm at 9.20pm on Thursday, February 16, after the pair didn’t return home.

Police launched a search and within 90 minutes discovered Mrs Mullany’s Fiat Panda car parked next to the lake.

A packet of bread crumbs was found floating in the water and Mrs Mullany’s body was discovered soon afterwards.

Police brought in an RAF helicopter armed with infrared searching equipment and Laurie’s body was recovered nearly six hours later at 4am, submerged six feet under the water.

Det Chief Insp David Wood told the inquest that evidence suggested Mrs Mullany and Laurie had gone to the lake to feed the ducks.

He said: “The car had its doors closed but was unlocked. They keys were in the ignition.

“Officers found a bag containing bread crumbs nearby and close to the water’s edge.

“They continued to search the area and a body was found which was subsequently identified as Dawn Mullany. Pieces of bread were on the water close to the body.”

Mr Wood told the inquest that no injuries were found on either the little boy or his grandmother. A post-mortem examination found the cause of death to be drowning.

Describing it as a “tragic accident”, Mr Wood added: “There was nothing at the scene to establish why they went into the water. Our inquiries have been able to establish definitively that there were no suspicious circumstances.”

The coroner Prof Robert Forrest returned a narrative verdict, which said: “Police inquiries have disclosed no suspicious circumstances and the precise sequence of circumstances leading to death cannot be established.

“We cannot actually say what happened. One can speculate but it is not my job to speculate.”

He expressed his condolences to Laurie’s parents Asmina and Vaughan and his sister, saying: “The impact on the family has been tragic.”

Laurie, a much-loved pupil at Ketton Primary School, was described as a bubbly and enthusiastic boy.

In a statement released after the inquest, the family said: “We have known for some time what the inquest would and would not be able to tell us.

“We will never exactly know what happened that day, other than a tragic accident that’s taken away two wonderful people and beloved pillars of our family.

“Now we have to continue with the long and difficult journey that is rebuilding our lives with the support of our family and friends and the loving memory of our years spent with Dawn and Laurie.”

After the inquest, DCI Wood said his thoughts were with the family.

He said: “We hope the conclusion of the inquest process enables them, in some sense, to move forward.

“I would like to thank the officers who conducted the searches and enquiries in this case.

“They acted extremely professionally in very difficult circumstances.

“Although we do not know how or why Mrs Mullany and Laurence came to be in the lake, this case clearly demonstrates the dangers of such bodies of water, particularly in the winter months when the water temperature is so low.

“We would urge anyone with young children to consider these risks.”