Father says son's drowning at leisure centre should have been prevented

Steven Wright described how his panic grew as he searched for his son, Rocco, at the David Lloyd centre in Moortown, Leeds, before he spotted him at the bottom of the main pool.
Steven Wright described how his panic grew as he searched for his son, Rocco, at the David Lloyd centre in Moortown, Leeds, before he spotted him at the bottom of the main pool.
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The father of a three-year-old boy who drowned in a leisure centre pool has told an inquest his son's death "could and should have been prevented".

Steven Wright described how his panic grew as he searched for his son, Rocco, at the David Lloyd centre in Moortown, Leeds, before he spotted him at the bottom of the main pool.

Giving evidence at an inquest in Wakefield on Monday, Mr Wright criticised the visibility life guards had at the poolside.

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He said: "We, as a family, are concerned at the levels of health and safety at the David Lloyd pool on the day Rocco died and hope they have been resolved - especially the life guard visibility at the pool area.

"We don't want this to happen to anyone else.

"We believe Rocco's death could and should have been prevented."

Mr Wright explained how he was with Rocco and his daughter at the poolside on April 21, 2018, and was planning to take his son swimming as his daughter had her regular lesson.

He said he had just been told the lesson had been cancelled when he realised Rocco was no longer by his side.

Mr Wright, who was still clutching Rocco's life-jacket, described how he began to search for his son but did not think he would be in the pool as he had a "natural fear of water" and would never get into the water by himself.

He explained to the jury of seven women and four men: "I looked around and noticed Rocco isn't there."

He said: "He had a natural fear of water so the last place I thought he'd gone was in the pool."

Mr Wright said he looked along the poolside and into a corridor, thinking Rocco was hiding.

He said it was only after finding he was not in the baby pool that he "started to really, really panic".

"That's when I turned round and looked at the main pool," he said. "That's when I saw him."

Mr Wright said: "I just saw an outline at the bottom of the pool. It was Rocco."

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He explained how he dived in, pulled his son to the side and people came over to help.

Asked about his son's attitude to the water, Mr Wright said Rocco would not jump in by himself and would only get into a pool with his help.

He agree that his son may have become more confident in the water following a recent family holiday in Barbados during which he was regularly in the pool.

Mr Wright said he made the trip to the David Lloyd centre every Saturday with his two children and had been a member for about three years.

The jury was told by coroner Jonathan Leach that it is thought Rocco had been in the water for at least two minutes before he was pulled out.

Pathologist Kirsten Hope said she was told before she conducted a post-mortem examination that he had been in the water for five minutes.

Dr Hope said that Rocco was put on a ventilator in hospital but declared dead the following day when his organs were used to save the lives of a number of other people.

Rocco's mother, Catharine Wright confirmed in a statement read to the court that her son had "never been a natural water baby".

She said: "I would not say he was scared of water but fearful of getting in at first."

Mrs Wright said Rocco was "the most amazing, happy, joyful boy you could ever wish to meet".

She said he was a "stereotypical little boy" who liked pretending to be superheroes, especially Batman.

Mrs Wright said Rocco was a healthy boy whose only medical problem was a recurring problem in his ear.

The inquest is expected to last for seven days.