Surrey

Zane Gbangbola flood death: Mother denies using petrol pump indoors

Zane Gbangbola
Image caption Zane Gbangbola died at his family home in Chertsey, Surrey, during severe flooding

A mother has denied using a petrol-driven water pump indoors the day before her son's death.

Zane Gbangbola, seven, died after his home in Chertsey was engulfed by what his family believes was contaminated floodwater.

His parents have disputed tests which indicate he was killed by carbon monoxide from the pump.

Zane's mother Nicole told an inquest into his death she felt "vilified" by suggestions she had used it inside.

Ms Lawler found her son not breathing in the early hours of 8 February 2014. He later died in hospital.

On the second day of an inquest into his death at Woking Coroner's Court she repeatedly denied using the device to drain their basement.

Ms Lawler and Zane's father, Kye Gbangbola, believe floodwater was contaminated with hydrogen cyanide from a lake built on an old landfill site next door.

Mr Gbangbola was left paraplegic as a result of the same incident.

'Fundamental conflict'

Christopher Coltart QC for Surrey Hire and Sales Ltd, which hired out the pump, told the court Ms Lawler made a statement to police in which she said she had used it "sporadically" on 7 February.

He said she also spoke to a doctor the morning Zane died and told him they had been using the pump to drain their basement.

Ms Lawler said the pump was switched on to check it worked then switched off again.

Mr Coltart claimed there was a "fundamental conflict" in Ms Lawler's evidence about how she was advised to use the pump.

He said: "My client's account is that you were told not to use the pump indoors."

Ms Lawler denied this. "Both of them told me as long as the window's open, that's fine," she said.

She continued: "I would not have a child in a house with a petrol pump going."

Image caption The Gbangbola's family home next to the Thames was partly flooded

Mr Coltart put it to her that Mr Gbangbola had a "falling out" with officers who were due to take his statement, leading him to write his own.

She agreed and said: "I know why they were falling out - it was about the disgusting way they spoke about our son's body."

Ms Lawler said she felt under pressure to sign a statement about her son's death.

She said the police behaviour was "abusive" and officers had been removed from the case.

An initial post-mortem examination into his Zane's death proved inconclusive.

The inquest continues.

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