Inquest is delayed for last-minute evidence

Loui Aspinall
Loui Aspinall

THE inquest of a Wigan toddler, who tragically drowned while on holiday, has been adjourned after a late-arriving witness statement from the woman who tried to save him was handed to the coroner.

Little Loui Aspinall, from Hindley Green, died in Tunisia on September 25 after getting into difficulties while swimming in his hotel pool at the Houda Golf and Beach Resort in Skanes.

CCTV footage showed seven minutes elapsed between the two-year-old’s being spotted in the pool and then being pulled out by other tourists.

Area coroner Alan Walsh began Loui’s inquest hearing in Bolton almost two-and-a-half hours late yesterday after a barrister representing travel company TUI requested documents that had previously not been asked for.

It was further delayed when Mr Walsh was handed a witness statement from Melissa Stanton, a woman who does not live locally, who helped with the rescue effort. This was unsigned though and so could not be used.

Once under way, the inquest first heard from Loui’s mother Emma Hollingsworth.

She told how the family had been enjoying the early part of their holiday, which began on September 22 last year.

Ms Hollingsworth, who also has a six-year-old daughter, described how both her children went in the hotel pool with her and partner Gavin Aspinall.

Talking about the safety around the pool, she confirmed that she saw signs describing when lifeguards would be on duty but she said: “I don’t remember seeing lifeguards sat around the pool but saw them from time to time walking around.”

Ms Hollingsworth explained that the family sat in an area near the shallow end and that when going in the water Loui would wear his rubber ring and armbands.

On the day he died, the family went for lunch at around noon before going by the pool.

Ms Hollingsworth said: “Loui needed to go to the toilet and Gavin took him into the water while he had a wee.”

The next time she saw Loui he was at the side of the pool with others attempting to resuscitate him.

“I thought they were in the pool and when I turned around on my sun lounger I saw Loui lying down at the edge of the pool,” she added.

“There was no screaming or anything to draw my attention to it.”

Loui was found under water in an area deeper than his height by tourists at 1.19pm, seven minutes after he was last seen at the side of the pool.

Ms Hollingsworth said there was a nurse who “took charge” of the situation but Loui could not be resuscitated and was confirmed dead after being taken to hospital at 1.43pm.

Dr Melanie Newbold, consultant paediatric pathologist, carried out a post-mortem examination on October 1 and described Loui as a “well grown, healthy little boy for his age” and that the cause of his death was drowning.

Mr Walsh adjourned the hearing until next Wednesday afternoon where it is expected to hear from Ms Stanton.