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Michelle’s parents launch legal fight over swim pool tragedy

PUBLISHED: 22:03 05 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:36 05 October 2010

Michelle... and her judo trophy moments before the tragedy

Michelle... and her judo trophy moments before the tragedy

THE parents of seven-year-old Michelle Gellard who died in a public swimming pool are suing the company that runs the leisure centre, they said this week. Michelle had just taken part in a judo competition for her club on the Isle of Dogs in East London being held at the Blackwater centre in Maldon, Essex, when she was found unconscious by a member of the public in the deep end of the centre’s pool at in June

THE parents of seven-year-old Michelle Gellard who died in a public swimming pool are suing the company that runs the leisure centre, they said this week.

Michelle had just taken part in a judo competition for her club on the Isle of Dogs in East London, being held at the Blackwater centre in Maldon, Essex, when she was found unconscious by a member of the public in the deep end of the centre’s pool at in June.

Lifeguards had failed to notice she was in difficulties, Mark and Sian Gellard insist.

Leisure centre staff called the emergency services—but failed to make the operator aware of the seriousness of Michelle’s condition, which delayed the arrival of the ambulance, they maintain.

Mark Gellard said: “We are devastated that our beautiful daughter died as a result of this incident.

“We want to know why the lifeguards appear not to have noticed that Michelle was drowning, despite the fact the pool wasn’t busy at the time.

“We also want to know why the staff at the leisure centre failed to report in the first emergency call that it was a drowning incident and said Michelle was okay’ and conscious’—when in fact she needed emergency resuscitation.”

He added: “As a result, emergency medical help was delayed which may have lost the chance to save her life.”

The couple say it is “essential that lessons are learned” so this does not happen to anyone else.

They are also calling for the Health & Safety Executive to widen their investigation of the incident at the pool which is run by Leisure Connection for Maldon district council.

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