Jack Susianta canal death: Police 'could have saved him', says witness

Jack Susianta
Image caption Jack Susianta appeared "stressed" and moved away from a floatation ring thrown to him

A dog walker who saw a 17-year-old drown in an east London canal after a police chase has told an inquest "there was enough time to save him".

Kamila Grabowska was walking her dog at Walthamstow Marshes with her daughter as Jack Susianta, 17, jumped in.

The youth, from Hackney, appeared "stressed" and refused a floatation ring thrown to him by police, she said.

Police did not enter the water until he had fully disappeared on 29 July 2015, St Pancras Coroner's Court heard.

The Met Police deny claims they refused to save the teenager.

'Submerging and emerging'

Giving evidence, Ms Grabowska said: "He (Jack) did not want to take the ring. It seemed as if he was not listening to what they were saying to him.

"It was strange. He must have been under a great deal of stress."

The dog walker said she saw Jack "submerging and emerging" from below the water but said he did not say anything and appeared "exhausted".

An officer entered the water a "few minutes later", but Ms Grabowska added: "If he had wanted to save his (Jack's) life he would have gone in before.

Image caption Tributes were left at the canal where Jack Susianta's body was recovered

"I believe this boy could have been saved and he could still be alive.

"There was enough time to save him and it was clear that he was stressed."

Fred McGruer, who owns a barge on the canal, was among the people watching the incident.

He said a police officer told him they "weren't allowed to" enter the water, because officers had previously been injured rescuing people.

Mr McGruer told the court: "It was just clear that he was making movements away from the floating device.

But the situation "seemed to escalate too quickly" and there appeared to be a "lack of coordination and a lack of reassessment of the situation", he said.

"It was clear that Jack did not want to be rescued so why not do something different?

"There was an officer willing to go in and that should have been identified sooner," the witness said.

The inquest continues.

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