Teen drowned after confrontation

Dylan Aaron

Dylan Aaron

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A TEENAGE boy drowned in a fishing pond after two brothers refused to let him out, a court heard.

Despite 17-year-old Dylan Aaron’s terrified screams for help, David and Drew McGrail allegedly stopped another man jumping in to save him, and shouted to the teenager to drown.

The boy, who was in the middle of “Deep Pit” pond in Hindley, kept shouting for assistance, and two men did make a rescue attempt but were too late.

Police were alerted shortly before 4am, as was Dylan’s father, and he ran to the scene and dived into the bitterly cold water in a vain attempt to save his son, said Paul Reid, QC, prosecuting.

David McGrail, 35, and his younger brother, Drew, 27, both of Lancaster Road, Hindley, are on trial at Liverpool Crown Court. They both deny murdering Dylan on May 30 last year, and David McGrail also denies assaulting Daniel Bagnall causing actual bodily harm.

Opening the prosecution case, Mr Reid said that there was bad blood between the victim’s family and a family called Anglesea. David McGrail was friends with the Angleseas, who lived in Margaret Street, Hindley, as did the Aarons.

At about 3am on May 30, Dylan, who had been out drinking with his friends, Daniel Bagnall and Scott Higham, saw a coping stone had been thrown through the window of the Aaron family car.

Dylan “went mad” and assumed David McGrail was responsible, though Drew later admitted he was to blame, said Mr Reid.

He correctly believed David McGrail was night fishing at the “Deep Pit” pond, and went to confront him, with his two friends.

David McGrail was there with his friend Lee Higham, Scott’s brother, and his 10-year-old nephew. They were joined at about 3am by Drew, his girlfriend, and Michael and Julie Sharkey.

Dylan arrived carrying a stick and shouting for David McGrail and accused him of damaging the car. David McGrail stood up and walked towards him. Mr Bagnall intervened and during a fight David McGrail hit him on the right side of his head with a folded up deck chair, said Mr Reid.

He added: “While this was happening, Drew McGrail threw himself at Dylan and punched out at him. They grabbed hold of each other and rolled down the embankment towards the water. At the water’s edge, they stood up and grappled with each other. Drew McGrail pushed Dylan into the water and said, ‘Go on drown you little b******’.

“Scott Higham pulled David McGrail off Daniel Bagnall. Dylan remained in the water as the McGrail brothers would not let him out. David McGrail threw a chair, just missing Dylan.

“An increasingly frightened Dylan shouted, ‘get the police’ and as he swam towards the middle of the pond in an attempt to cross it, ‘Help me, I can’t kick my legs’.

“David McGrail shouted to Drew, ‘Don’t let him get out, let him die’ and ‘If he gets out, I’m going to kill him anyway’.”

The brothers shouted things at him such as ‘Let him drown’, and ‘Come on, I threw you in once, I’ll throw you in again’,” said Mr Reid.

Drew then ran to the far side of the pond and Dylan stopped swimming. Mr Bagnall also ran round and tried to take his T-shirt off and get in the water, but Drew stopped him.

“David McGrail used a torch to illuminate Dylan and said to Daniel Bagnall, ‘It’s now’t to do with you. Go home now or we’ll kill you too’.

“David McGrail lifted the torch and struck Daniel Bagnall a hard blow to the left side of his head, causing a one-and a-half inch cut.

“Michael Sharkey jumped into the water to try to save Dylan, but the McGrails continued to shout, “No, don’t let him out, let him die’ and ‘let him drown’.

“Lee Higham also went into the water and swam close to Dylan, only to see his head and then his outstretched arm slip beneath the water.

“Lee Higham dived down into the pitch black water, but could neither see nor save Dylan. When he came out, Scott Higham was crying and Daniel Bagnall was bleeding from a cut to his head. David McGrail was just standing there and did not look the slightest bit bothered by what had happened.”

David McGrail was arrested at the scene and his brother, who had initially fled, was arrested shortly afterwards.

Dylan’s body was recovered by an underwater search team at 8.15am, and it was found he had died of drowning.

David McGrail denied saying he wanted Dylan to drown or die and said he would have saved him if he could swim and had encouraged others to rescue him. He said that Drew had been fighting with Dylan, but did not see how the teenager ended up in the water.

Drew initially denied being at the scene, but later made a statement admitting he was there but denied making the remarks, touching Dylan or knowing how he ended up in the pond.

The trial is expected to last three weeks.

(Proceeding)