Essex

Girl 'drowned after judo contest' in Essex

Blackwater Leisure Centre
Image caption Michelle Gellard was found unconscious at the leisure centre in Essex

A seven-year-old girl died after being pulled unconscious from a swimming pool following a martial arts competition, an inquest has been told.

Michelle Gellard, from east London, was swimming at Blackwater Leisure Centre at Maldon in 2008.

Before going in the pool she had won a silver medal in a judo competition and the inquest at Chelmsford was told she had suffered a mild head injury.

A pathologist, at Essex Record Office, said Michelle died from drowning.

She was pulled out of the pool by a lifeguard and a fellow swimmer.

The inquest heard evidence from one of the three lifeguards on duty when the incident happened.

Legal representatives from a number of parties including the family, Maldon District Council and the Health and Safety Executive are present.

Police said no criminal prosecution for corporate manslaughter was being sought but that was under review and could change.

The inquest is expected to last up to eight days.

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