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Dying girl's tragic death captured on 999 tapes

PUBLISHED: 15:44 08 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:41 05 October 2010

Drowned: Michelle Gellard

Drowned: Michelle Gellard

by Gemma Collins HEARTBREAKING details of the last minutes of dying schoolgirl Michelle Gellard s young life have been published on a lawyers website. The agonising moments were captured in 999 calls made by leisure centre staff in the minutes after sev

by Gemma Collins

HEARTBREAKING details of the last minutes of dying schoolgirl Michelle Gellard's young life have been published on a lawyers' website.

The agonising moments were captured in 999 calls made by leisure centre staff in the minutes after seven-year-old Michelle from Millwall was discovered face down in the deep end of the swimming pool in June.

East of England Ambulance Service agreed to hand the recordings over to Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors, acting for Michelle's parents, after Mark Gellard and Sian Lakey announced they were suing Leisure Connection which runs the pool at Blackwall Leisure Centre in Maldon, Essex.

In the first 999 call, the operator is told that Michelle is "ok" and "conscious", but in the second call, a distressed member of staff demands to know where the ambulance is as they have a "little girl" who is "not conscious".

The recordings were removed from the solicitors' website last week after the ambulance service complained they were only provided "in confidence".

Michelle had gone for a swim after winning a silver medal in a judo contest at the centre.

Mark and Sian, of Seyssel Street on the Isle of Dogs, claim that "incomplete and inaccurate information about Michelle's condition" was given to the 999 services which, they believe, led to a delay in the ambulance arriving.

In the first call, the operator is told there is "an unconscious child believed to be choking".

But after speaking with another member of staff, the caller tells the operator: "I have just been told by someone who has seen her that she is ok now." The operator confirms the ambulance is "well on its way".

In the second recording a distressed caller rings the operator saying they "need" the ambulance.

The phone is handed to someone else who says there has been a drowning and Michelle is not breathing as a St John Ambulance team gave her constant chest compressions. There is confusion in the background and someone can be heard saying "No-one is to blame, it is a freak accident. It is nobody's fault."

The operator is also told that there is no defibrillator and no staff present who are qualified to resuscitate young children.

The Health and Safety Executive is investigating the incident.

Leisure Connection and Hodge Jones & Allen refused to comment.

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