Beds, Herts & Bucks

William Stringer inquest hears teenager drowned

Weir on River Ivel
Image caption William Stringer's body was found the following day

A teenager whose body was found in a Bedfordshire weir drowned after getting into difficulties while swimming, an inquest has heard.

William Stringer, 15, of Linsdell Crescent, Biggleswade, died in the River Ivel in the town on 23 August.

Ampthill Coroner's Court heard friends tried to stop him going into the water as he was not a strong swimmer.

The coroner said it was a clear example of the dangers that can be presented by swimming in rivers and lakes.

Although the River Ivel is not known as a problem area, Bedfordshire Coroner Tom Osborne warned that people should not go swimming in areas that do not have proper facilities.

Mr Osborne returned a verdict of accidental death.

William had been relaxing with friends at the River Ivel in Biggleswade, the hearing was told, when one member of the group went for a swim.

He decided he wanted to join in, despite two of his friends trying to dissuade him.

At first he was fine, but he began to struggle in the water.

'Understand the dangers'

His friends both tried to help him, but could not pull him from the water and he eventually went under.

The teenager's body was discovered the following day and a post-mortem examination found he had drowned.

His mother, Michelle, told the court that her son was a lively, healthy boy who would laugh and joke about everything.

She said he loved music and cars, and had wanted to be a mechanic.

He was described as a good student who was on course to get 10 GCSEs.

Speaking after the hearing, William's family also warned about the dangers of river swimming.

His aunt, Julie Saunderson, said: "It was a tragedy for William; it is important for parents and children to understand the dangers."

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