Teenager’s drowning death was tragic accident

Floral tributes left last year near the scene where Woodford teenager Daniel McCullagh drowned
Floral tributes left last year near the scene where Woodford teenager Daniel McCullagh drowned

The death of a teenager who drowned when he fell into difficulties while swimming in the River Nene near Woodford in July last year was a tragic accident, an inquest heard today (Thursday, March 14).

Daniel McCullagh, from Woodford, was 15-years-old when he and a few friends decided to jump from an iron bridge into the river on July 24 last year.

Moments after jumping into the water, Daniel was dragged underneath the water by the strong current.

Daniel’s friends tried in vain to find their friend and they also alerted a passer-by, Tony Blyth, landlord of the Duke’s Arms, who spent ten minutes swimming in the river to try and find the teen before the police arrived.

Daniel’s body was recovered more than three hours later by firefighters.

The inquest was held at Kettering Magistrates Court.

In a statement, Daniel’s mum, said she had asked her son not to swim in the river because she had known someone who had drowned as a youngster.

She added that Daniel was a ‘lovely’ boy who always thought about the feelings of others.

Daniel’s dad, Gabriel McCullagh, in a statement, said he had been astounded that the Environment Agency had removed lifebelts from the area around Woodford Lock.

Sue Longstone, from the Environment Agency, said the lifebelt had been removed in 2005 because it had been stolen or vandalised a number of times. She said a lifebelt had been returned to the lock in January.

Coroner Anne Pember recorded a verdict of accidental death.

In a statement read out after the inquest, Daniel’s parents said: “We think of Daniel every day. He was great company and we loved him dearly.

“We would like to thank the friends and family of Daniel who have been so supportive in the last year.”