Algarve drowning boy Rupert Marshall death 'accidental'

Map showing Armacao De Pera in Portugal

A five-year-old boy who died on a family holiday in the Algarve was found face down in the shallow end of a swimming pool, an inquest has heard.

Despite efforts to revive him, Rupert Marshall, of Heron's Ghyll, East Sussex, drowned in Armacao De Pera in Portugal on 21 August, 2013.

He had been staying at a four-bedroom bungalow with his two older sisters, their father and his partner.

East Sussex coroner Alan Craze recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The inquest at Eastbourne Magistrates' Court was told the children had been instructed not to go into the 10m-long oval pool without adult supervision.

'Stray cat' theory

Joanna Gardner, the partner of Rupert's father Adrian Marshall, said she had gone outside the bungalow and seen Rupert in the shallow end of the pool.

"I went down to the pool and I saw [Rupert] at the shallow end. He was lying flat, face down in the water," she said.

"He was wearing a towel and leggings."

Ms Gardner, who had just completed a swimming teacher's course, added: "I ran in, pulled him out, and started breathing into him. I yelled."

A Portuguese pathologist found Rupert died from "asphyxia as a result of drowning".

Mr Marshall said Rupert generally had to be "coaxed" into the water and was less interested in swimming than his sisters.

He told the inquest it was a mystery why his son had gone into the water but there was speculation that he was looking for a stray cat seen recently at the bungalow owned by Ms Gardner's mother.

Rupert was extremely long-sighted according to his mother, Sophie Marshall, who said she had been worried about the proximity of the pool.

"Nobody is going to forget this, nobody pretends they are ever going to forget this," Mr Craze said in his closing remarks.

"But my hope is that with the benefit of the passage of time, each parent will be able to move on."

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