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Two-year-old was ‘singing’ moments prior to death, inquest hears

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A TWO-YEAR-OLD who died when the car she was in rolled into the River Teifi was ‘singing’ just moments before, an inquest has heard.

Kiara Moore, who drowned on March 19 in the River Teifi, Cardigan, was left alone for just two minutes prior to the car entering the water.

Ceredigion coroner, Peter Brunton, opened the inquest this morning (Nov 27) in Aberystwyth.

The inquest heard that Kiara’s mother, Kim, had snapped her credit card and had to leave the car to re-enter the family business, owned by Kiara’s father, Jet.

In this short period of time, Kiara was left in the car.

Kim said that the car was left in reverse on the slope where she always parks with the handbrake on. The car was recovered in third gear with the handbrake disengaged.

The car was reported as stolen and a police search was launched. It was later spotted in the river, with Kiara’s body inside. She had tragically drowned.

Experts told the inquest that Kiara moving around in the car may have been enough to start the car rolling.

The car was tested and found to be in good condition with no defects.

When asked if Kiara could have knocked the handbrake, Sgt Shane Davies, Dyfed-Powys Police’s Senior Forensic Officer, said ‘I don’t know is the honest answer’.

He added: “I can’t say with any degree of certainty how it went from the handbrake being on at the slipway to not being on in the water.

“You could release the handbrake by pressing the button at the front of it.”

No charges were brought by Dyfed-Powys Police, and the inquest was formally closed with a judgement of death via misadventure.

Kim Rowlands said in a prepared statement: “Jet owns and managed Adventure Beyond in Cardigan. I work with the company and normally go there to work in the office.

“Since Kiara was a baby she has been coming with me to the office.

“On the day there was nothing unusual. I got up, called Kiara, and got her ready. She asked me what I was going to be doing. I said going to work and she asked if she could come with me.

“I’m not on any medication. I was feeling tired but not unusually so. I parked on the slipway. Monday was only the second day I’d been there that year.

“I checked the handbrake which I always do. I left it in reverse. I parked so that the back of the car was level with the scout hut.

“I didn’t go back to the car all day. During the day we stayed in the office.

“We did walk into Cardigan town centre to go to the bank. Sometime around 3pm I got ready to leave. I unlocked the car and walked round to the passenger side and loaded all Kiara’s things. I then put her in the car seat but didn’t fasten her seat.

“I closed her door and walked round to the driver’s door which I opened and as I did I realised my bank card had snapped. I took the card out and knew I didn’t have any food at home. I gave the card to Kiara and told her I would be two secs.

“The keys were either in the driver’s door or in the ignition. I told Kiara I would be two seconds. I opened the padlock and went into the office. I could hear Kiara in the car.

“When I left there was singing and shouting. I knelt down by the safe in the office. I got a £10 note out and shut the door.

“I went out of the office and put the padlock on. I could see that my car was gone.

“I was gone for about three minutes. I went down to the river and couldn’t see anything. My next thought was that the car had been taken. I asked people if they’d seen anything.

“I dialled 999 and told them my car had been taken with daughter inside. I looked everywhere. I phoned my mum as I was panicking.

“We bought the car second-hand and to my knowledge there were no handbrake issues.

“Kiara normally sits in the front passenger seat of the car. Her seat is for zero to four years. She’s used to travelling in the car and she liked to play with the radio controls but I never saw her playing with any other controls.”

The inquest also heard from PCSO Carol Griffith, who jumped into the river and smashed a window to pull Kiara out of the car.

A statement was read on her behalf. It said:  “On Monday, March 19, I was on call at Crymych police station. I started at 9am. I had just arrived at Cardigan police station when I heard that a car had been stolen with a three-year-old girl inside.

“I began searching for the car and was directed by inspector Gareth Jones to make CCTV inquiries in the area.

“I was walking to the right-hand side of the scout hut and I was notified that a car had been located in the river. I ran back towards the river and the ARV drove past heading in the same direction.

“As I reached the bank I looked to the water. I could see a small bit of the car above the surface.

“I was stood next to PC Harvey and I said I was going to go into the water. I took off my vest and boots and dived headfirst into the river. The river was freezing cold and you could tell the current was really strong.

“I put my head underwater and I could not see anything underwater. The car was fully immersed in the water and was facing towards the main bridge in Cardigan.

“I swam towards the middle of the car and managed to climb onto the roof.

“I went under the water by the front passenger window. The water was so cold I couldn’t keep under for very long.

“I went down to the window and could not see inside the car.

“I was able to put both arms inside a small opening of the window. I could not see anything.

“I tried the handle on the outside but could not.

“I felt something when I put my arms through the window. I came to the surface and said that someone needed to smash the window.

“Myself and Nick managed to smash the glass after several hits and it broke. I immediately felt Kiara’s body. Both of us held her little body.

“I knew it was her because the coat she was wearing matched the description. I swam to the shoreline and Nick carried her out onto the river bank.

“Other officers started to conduct CPR but I can’t remember who that was.

“All I remember was looking at her body and her face was purple.

“I remember hearing the noise of a defib (defibrillator) and then I was taken back to the police station as I had blood on my hands. I hadn’t realised that I had cut myself.”

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New Quay RNLI lifeboat crew trains with lifeguards

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NEW QUAY lifeboat station hosted a special training evening with the lifeboat crew and Ceredigion’s RNLI lifeguards last week.

Pete Yates, one of New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat helms, worked closely with Ceredigion lifeguard supervisor, Tirion Dowsett, to plan scenarios for the teams to practice working together in casualty care situations.

A large scale scenario included four casualties to be dealt with by the inshore lifeboat crew and two lifeguard teams on a nearby beach, whilst a third lifeguard team and lifeboat crew members dealt with a separate scenario at the lifeboat station.

Pete said: “It was a great evening of training. We had 9 lifeguards and 13 lifeboat crew in attendance.

“The main scenario included casualties suffering from hypothermia and propeller injuries. A second scenario involved a mechanic suffering head injuries in the forepeak of the all-weather lifeboat and requiring extraction on a stretcher.

“On completion of these scenarios we all gathered back at the station where one of our senior crew members sprung a great act at being a diabetic having a hypo, and being suitably angry and aggressive.”

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, added: “It was great for our lifeboat crew members to work with the lifeguards as it builds a deeper understanding of each other’s roles and encourages teamwork between us. This is of great benefit when dealing with real life casualty care situations.”

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Coastguard rescues dog stuck on cliffs

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LAST TUESDAY (Aug 27), New Quay RNLI’s inshore D-class lifeboat, Audrey LJ, was tasked by Milford Haven Coastguard to assist the Coastguard with a dog stuck on the cliffs near New Quay.

The volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat at 1.50pm with four crew members on board and made their way south down the coast.

Brett Stones, New Quay RNLI’s helm said: “We located the dog on the cliffs by Castell Bach, near Cwmtydu. We stood by while the Coastguard team caught the animal. The dog was unharmed and safe with the Coastguard so we were stood down.

“However, while returning to station we were then tasked to a small vessel with engine failure. We towed the stricken boat with three people on board back to New Quay. We rehoused the inshore lifeboat and it was ready for service by 2.40pm.”

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New maintenance Lorries cut carbon emissions

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The Ground Maintenance Team has purchased three new lorries to support ground maintenance services in Ceredigion.

The new lorries will move Ceredigion County Council’s Ground Maintenance Service’s equipment to and from the grounds that they look after. The lorries will also take cut grass away for composting. This provides the most efficient way of maintaining the areas that the team is responsible for.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards is the Cabinet member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services together with Housing. He said: “The new vehicles replace ones which had provided excellent service for almost 20 years. They are fitted with Euro 6 engines which are considerably more efficient and better for the environment.”

The Grounds Maintenance Team is also incrementally introducing electric-powered mowers, blowers, hedge cutters and strimmers into its fleet. This equipment is better for the environment, is easier to use and causes less noise and vibration.

The new lorries support Ceredigion County Council’s commitment to be a net-zero carbon council by 2030.

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