Thomas Stewart Obituary, Death – An inquest has revealed that four youngsters who fell into an icy lake in Solihull drowned. Their relative Thomas Stewart, 11, and another youngster, Jack Johnson, 10, also passed away. Finlay Butler, age 8, and his younger brother Samuel, age 6, also perished. On Sunday, December 11, they were removed from the lake at Babbs Mill Park in Kinghurst. According to the inquest, the boys were in the water more than 20 minutes after the initial 999 calls. 22 minutes later, three of them were retrieved from the sea, and nine minutes later, the fourth youngster.
Last week, reports of police officers trying to break through ice to reach them surfaced. Det Insp Jim Edmonds said at the inquest that the emergency services made “heroic efforts” to save the youngsters. He said that police in Birmingham and Solihull received a number of calls from the general people. He stated: “On Sunday, December 11, at 2:34 p.m., West Midlands Police received a report that four youngsters who were playing on a frozen lake at Babbs Mill Park had fallen through the ice and into the water.
Additional calls were received from other members of the public, who also reported that kids had fallen into the river, however the number of kids involved varied slightly.” Emergency personnel responded quickly, and it was clear upon arrival that this was a serious occurrence because many members of the public were present and reporting that children had tragically fallen into the river. DI Edmonds stated concerning the rescue efforts; “At 2:56 p.m. on the same day, the first three boys were discovered and brought to the bank; nine minutes later, a fourth boy was pulled from the water. “Emergency CPR was performed on the children at the scene and they were taken to local hospitals where they received further treatment,” he said, adding that the boys had now been identified.
“All four youngsters have regrettably passed away, despite the valiant efforts of everyone concerned,” the statement read. Additionally, he informed the coroner that Finlay passed away the next day, Jack and Thomas died later that day, and that his brother Samuel passed away on Wednesday, December 14. He further said “There are no unaccounted for children. The boys’ attendance at the lake and how they fell into the water are the subject of an ongoing police inquiry by the coroner.” Louise Hunt, the coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, expressed her profound condolences to the families and called it a “devastating loss.”
She claimed that it was challenging to understand the suffering and sadness the families were going through. The coroner scheduled hearings for inquests on July 6, 2019, stating that “the inquest’s focus will be on investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths and the cause of death.” She stated that the inquest would hear a pen portrait of each young boy from a family member, summaries of the actions taken by each of the three emergency agencies involved, and proof of the hospital care provided. I believe it is appropriate to remark that they very unfortunately perished as a result of drowning out of respect. No post-mortem would be necessary, she continued, “to maintain the respect and dignity of each tiny child.” Louise Hunt also spoke to the boys’ relatives, who weren’t present in person during the hearing. I would like to extend my heartfelt sympathies to you, she said. The loss of your boys is a horrible tragedy for you all, and it is hard for us to imagine the suffering and sadness you are going through right now. “In due course, I hope the inquiry will assist you in understanding what transpired, particularly the heroic efforts made by the emergency services to save the youngsters,” he said. A comprehensive inquest into all four fatalities will be held in July 2023 after the hearing was postponed.