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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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Amendments introduced to the Cardigan Safe Zone

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AS MORE people are expected to visit Ceredigion’s towns over the coming weeks and summer months, changes are required to ensure our streets are safe for everyone, by allowing people to maintain a 2 metre social distance at all times.

Introducing changes over the Easter period has meant that some amendments will be made over the coming weeks.

Following a review, the initial phase of the Safe Zone (Phase 2) for Cardigan will be amended to Phase 2a, with Morgan Street and The Strand remaining as a one way system (unchanged current arrangement).

Road closures affecting the High Street in Cardigan will commence ahead of the May Bank holiday weekend at the end of May. The road closures will be between 12pm and 4pm daily.

As part of Phase 2a, the following work is being undertaken:

  • Placing road markings for all disabled bays along High St & Pendre
  • Placing loading bay road markings opposite Dewi James Butchers
  • Introducing new reflective bollards to replace the red/white baulks. This will allow traders to operate in the road as per their licence. The widened footpaths within the trading areas in the road will be raised to the same level as the adjacent footpaths to create a flat accessible area for pedestrians.
  • Placing a chicane outside the Black Lion Hotel to slow traffic flow
  • Implement a one way system along College Row to improve pedestrian safety
  • Reversal of one way along St Mary St to allow access to Chancery
  • Close the top of Pwllhai for licenced trading and pedestrian safety

A map of Cardigan and all the latest information on the Safe Zones is available on Ceredigion County Council’s website: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/safezones   

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New Quay youngster answers RNLI’s mayday call and raises nearly £2,000

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OVER the May Day Bank Holiday weekend a New Quay schoolboy took to the water on his paddle board and raised nearly £2,000 for the RNLI Mayday Mile appeal. He is now urging more people to take part this May in any way they can to raise funds for equipment before the busy summer season on the coast. 

Steffan outside Newquay RNLI lifeboat station after completing his challenge

Steffan Williams, 12, a pupil from Ysgol Bro Teifi answered the RNLI’s mayday call for fundraising and decided to not just do one mile on his paddleboard but attempt 10 miles in one day. He is now encouraging more people to get involved with the appeal to raise funds.  

Steffan said, “The RNLI Mayday Mile is a great way to raise money for the charity that saves lives at sea as you can do one mile or 100 miles in any way you want. You could run it, walk it, dance it and make it fun in fancy dress. 

Steffan Williams before his challenge on Sunday May 3

“I decided to take to the sea on my paddleboard, and I am really pleased I completed my challenge of 10 miles in one day. It was really hard going as the wind picked up in the afternoon but I did not want to give up. 

“I have been really shocked at the support and want to thank everyone who has donated, I am so happy!” 

Steffan’s total so far is £1,812 and he is the RNLI’s top individual fundraiser in the UK and Ireland. To support Steffan visit https://themaydaymile.rnli.org/fundraising/steffans-paddleboarding-mayday-challenge

The RNLI’s Mayday Mile campaign will be running throughout the month of May and anyone can take part by joining up on the RNLI’s Mayday Mile website https://themaydaymile.rnli.org/.  

With more people expected to be holidaying close to home this year, the RNLI predicts a summer like no other.  

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager said, “Steffan has done a fantastic job on raising so much money for the charity and we are very grateful indeed. He is a true hero. This summer we expect to be very busy and urge people visiting our coast to take the necessary precautions.  

“Always check the weather, the tides and if you are on the water remember to wear a buoyancy aid and take means of calling for help, a mobile phone or radio. Remember we are on call 24/7 so if you see anyone in trouble on the coast please call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.” 

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Contact Hywel Dda for second vaccine appointment

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HYWEL Dda University Health Board (UHB) is asking anyone who received a first Pfizer vaccine at one of its mass vaccination centres in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion or Pembrokeshire more than 21 days ago to get in touch if they have not received a second vaccine appointment.       

Ros Jervis, Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Second doses are essential for longer term protection, so it’s important that everyone comes forward for their full course when called.

“Our records show that a small number of people across our three counties have not responded to our invitation to receive their second dose. We won’t leave anyone behind and there is still time for them to receive it within the required timeframe.”

Additional clinics will be put on in the next couple weeks to administer these second doses. If it has been more than 21 days since your first Pfizer vaccine please email COVIDenquiries.hdd@wales.nhs.uk with the subject title “Second Pfizer dose request” with your full name, date of first vaccine and a contact phone number to book your appointment. If you are unable to email you can also contact the health board by calling 0300 303 8322.

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