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.”
Teenage passenger dies in A487 crash – police appealing for help
DYFED POWYS POLICE are appealing for witnesses following a fatal collision which occurred at around 10pm last night (Saturday, November 16) on the A487 at Commins Coch, Aberystwyth.
The collision involved two vehicles – a black Vauxhall Astra, which was travelling out of Aberystwyth heading towards the general direction of Bow Street, and a silver Audi A6.
Sadly, an 18-year-old sustained fatal injuries and passed away at hospital this morning. She was a passenger in the Vauxhall Astra.
Several casualties were also taken to hospital with serious injuries.
Anyone travelling along this stretch of road at the time of the collision who had dash cam footage, or saw the collision or the vehicles involved, is asked to contact the Serious Collision Investigation Unit.
You can report information online at: http://bit.ly/dppReportOnline, by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 101.
If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference: DP-20191116-353
Free parking in Ceredigion
Car parking will be free in all Ceredigion County Council operated Pay and Display car parks on the three Saturdays before Christmas this year.
Parking charges at council operated Pay and Display car parks will be waived on December 7, 14 and 21 2019.
Rhodri Llwyd is Ceredigion County Council’s Corporate Lead Officer responsible for Highways and Environmental Services. He said. “Small businesses will be competing against online businesses for trade this Christmas. We want to do what we can to support Ceredigion businesses at this important time of year. We hope this step encourages more of us to shop locally this Christmas and enjoy what fantastic Ceredigion businesses have to offer.”
This decision contributes towards one of the council’s corporate priorities of boosting the economy.
Ysgol Bro Pedr raise funds for life saving machine
PUPILS at Ysgol Bro Pedr have raised enough money to buy a defibrillator machine for the school.
The idea came after 15 Year 11 pupils achieved their Level 3 Emergency First Aid Qualification with Ceredigion Youth Service. Pupils felt that it was incredibly important that they and others at the school had the skills, knowledge and equipment to use in an emergency.
Mrs Caryl Jones and pupils raised an outstanding £1,150 through organising a bake sale at the school on 28 March 2019. The school extends their thanks to Lampeter businesses ‘Oh My Cod’ and ‘Y Becws’ for their kind contribution towards the sale.
Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker said: “Although first aid is not a mandatory part of the school curriculum in Wales, young people at Ysgol Bro Pedr felt that it should be something that all pupils knew about. This would help them to know what to do in an emergency, whether that be in the school or out in the community. Pupils worked hard to achieve their First Aid qualification which covered aspect such as CPR, casualty management and the use of a defibrillator.”
The defibrillator machine will be placed in the school reception.
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