Man did not rescue child for fear of 'pervert' slur
A BRICKLAYER who passed a toddler walking alone in a village shortly before her fatal fall into a pond said yesterday he did not stop to help in case people thought he was trying to abduct her.
Clive Peachey, from Cornwall, told an inquest jury in Stratford-upon-Avon that he had passed two-year-old girl, Abby Rae, in his van shortly after 10am on 28 November, 2002.
This was just moments after the toddler disappeared from the Ready Teddy Go nursery in the Warwickshire village of Lower Brailes, according to staff.
Abby was found an hour later in an algae-covered garden pond and rescued by her mother, Victoria Rae.
She was taken to Birmingham Children's Hospital by air ambulance but was pronounced dead.
Mr Peachey, of Liskeard, told the inquest he had passed the little girl as she tottered towards the road in High Street.
He said: "I kept thinking I should go back. The reason I didn't go back was because I thought people might think I was trying to abduct her.
"I was convinced her parents were driving around and had found her."
Mrs Rae, 36, wept as Mr Peachey gave his evidence to the packed hearing.
She had earlier read emotionally from a statement as she relived the moment she dragged her daughter from the pond.
Two nursery employees had gone into the garden during their search but told the inquest they did not see the pond because it was covered in green vegetation.
The inquest was adjourned until today.
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