‘No lifeguards’ at hotel where Galashiels toddler drowned

The Dalmeny Hotel in Lytham St Annes had no lifeguards employed when Jane Bell downed
The Dalmeny Hotel in Lytham St Annes had no lifeguards employed when Jane Bell downed

An inquest has heard how there were no lifeguards at the Dalmeny Hotel when a three year old girl drowned in the pool.

Jane Bell drowned in deep end of the indoor pool at the three star Dalmeny Hotel in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire in August 2014 during a family holiday away from their home in Galashiels, Scotland.

An inquest jury sitting in Blackpool was told by director of the hotel, Samantha Lewis, that the pool was built in 1970 and was now too deep at one end for modern safety standards.

She told the hearing that the hotel was considering putting a false bottom over the seven foot deep end to reduce its depth.

“We have had quotes from two contractors and hope the work might start later this year.

“It would bring the pool to the standard required if the pool was being built now,” she said.

The witness denied telling an officer from Fylde Borough Council that the hotel had five qualified lifeguards.

She said: “I did not say lifeguards to him. I said trained first aiders.”

However, when giving evidence, officer Anthony Stephens said he had been near Samantha Lewis when she had used the word lifeguards.

Lewis said that new pool side health and safety training had been imposed and during busier times the pool would be patrolled at least once every 15 minutes.

The expert witness leisure and pool management consultant Peter Mills that as long as the pool had a seven foot deep end there should be constant pool side lifeguards on duty.

He also said that monitoring CCTV images from poolside cameras were not adequate stating: “Cameras don’t save lives and rescue people.”

Detective Chief Inspector Dean Holden, who led the police inquiry into Jane’s death, told the hearing that the child’s mother had been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of her daughter and child neglect.

Her husband David was regarded as a witness to events which led up to the drowning of Jane.

He told the jury and coroner Alan Wilson: “Almost uniquely the decision to arrest the mother was based on the CCTV images of what went on. It was made by a senior officer.”

“It was the Chief Crown Prosecutor who later told us they would not be prosecuting Sarah Bell”, said DCI Holden.