Maldon swimming pool death: Firm admits health and safety breach

Michelle Gellard
Image caption Michelle was described as a "loving, confident and helpful little girl"

A leisure firm has admitted a health and safety breach over the death of a seven-year-old girl at a swimming pool in Essex.

Michelle Gellard was pulled unconscious from the pool at Blackwater Leisure Centre, in Maldon, on 14 June 2008.

Leisure Connection Ltd, which runs the centre, admitted failing to ensure the safety of a member of the public at Chelmsford Crown Court.

The company will be sentenced in March 2013.

At an inquest into Michelle's death last year, a jury returned a verdict of accidental death by immersion.

It heard the seven-year-old, from the Isle of Dogs in east London, had been competing in a judo competition at the centre and went for a swim after winning a silver medal.

Michelle was pulled out of the pool by a lifeguard and fellow swimmer, but staff were unable to resuscitate her. She was flown to Colchester General Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The inquest heard she had suffered a mild head injury while in judo class.

In August the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said it would prosecute the owners of the swimming pool under section 3 (i) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

In a statement the firm said it was "working closely" with those involved in the prosecution and would comment further after sentencing.

Michelle's family described her as a "loving, confident and helpful little girl".

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