Wiltshire

Harley Barnes' Wiltshire pond drowning was accident

Harley Barnes Image copyright Hannah Vaughan
Image caption Harley Barnes drowned in a pond on his grandparents' land on 28 July

The death of a four-year-old boy who drowned in a pond was accidental, a coroner has ruled.

Harley Barnes opened a gate or climbed it to reach the pond on land at the stables owned by his grandparents in Wiltshire.

His mother Hannah Vaughan told the inquest Harley had loved throwing stones in the water.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded at the hearing in Salisbury.

He had been feeding a horse in a field at the stables in Gastard, near Corsham, when he disappeared on the morning of 28 July.

Midwife helped

Ms Vaughan said she had given him some feed to take to the horse in the field and "that was the last time I saw him alive".

She said she never saw Harley open the gate to the pond but started calling and looking around for him before finding him in the pond.

Neighbour Jennifer Gibson, a midwife, heard her cries for help and rushed to her aid.

She told Ms Vaughan to go to her house and ring for an ambulance while she began resuscitation.

Harley was taken to the Royal United Hospital in Bath, where he was later pronounced dead by doctors.

A post-mortem examination found Harley died from freshwater drowning.

Recording an verdict of accidental death, Coroner Claire Balysz expressed her "sincere condolences" to Harley's parents.