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MUM'S AGONY AS SHE FINDS TOT, 2, UNDER WATER
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By Rod Chaytor
THE mother of a two-year-old girl who wandered off from a nursery yesterday relived the moment she found her drowning in a garden pond.
Victoria Rae, 36, fought back tears as she told an inquest she jumped into the algae-covered water to recover what she thought was daughter Abigail's shoe.
The mother - who had earlier been told by nursery staff searching for the toddler that they were looking for a dog - said: "I reached forward to grab Abby's shoe which was towards the centre of the pond.
"As I grabbed for the shoe, I missed the shoe and put my hand under the water and was shocked to touch what felt like a leg.
"I put my hands around the leg, which was around the calf area, and pulled the leg upwards.
"As I did this, I saw that it was Abby I was pulling out. The rest is a bit of a blur."​

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Mrs Rae later wept as a bricklayer, who drove past Abby in his van as she walked through her village, explained he did not stop to help in case people thought he was trying to abduct her.​

Clive Peachey said: "She wasn't walking in a straight line. She was tottering. I kept thinking, 'Should I go back?'​

"One reason I did not go back is because I thought someone would see me and think I was trying to abduct her. I was convinced her parents were driving around and had found her."​

Mr Peachey, of Liskeard, Cornwall, told the inquest jury in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwicks, he later contacted police after being told of a missing girl.​

Mrs Rae told the jury she dropped her daughter off at the Reddy Teddy Go playgroup in the village of Lower Brailes, Warwicks, at 9am on November 28, 2002.​

She and her husband Justin, 39, then went out to renew their car tax and returned 45 minutes later. As they pulled up in their drive, Mrs Rae, a registered nurse, noticed two women from the nursery in the road.​

Mrs Rae said: "They looked panic-stricken. I asked if they were all right. One of them explained, 'Someone's lost a dog'.​

"Justin and I laughed and I said 'For one minute I thought you'd lost a child'."​

It was between 15 and 30 minutes later that a woman knocked to report Abby's disappearance. Mrs Rae said she and her husband, an art director, joined the search, looking in a nearby brook, village pub, and the post office.​

She then heard Abby had been spotted in a garden pond close to the nursery and ran there, giving her mobile phone to a school worker to call an ambulance.​

But when she reached the pond she could at first see only the shoe. Mrs Rae said she dragged her daughter, who suffered from epilepsy, on to grass at the side of the pond and started resuscitation.​

Abby was taken by air ambulance to Birmingham Children's Hospital but could not be saved.​

It was nursery staff member Sharon Hibberd who told the parents they were looking for a dog.​

She told the jury: "I don't know why I said it. We were so expecting to find her."​

Weeping, she added: "It was such a shock to see the parents, something came out of my mouth."​

Police were called by staff after they failed to find the girl, who they realised was missing when the register was taken.​

The jury was shown a video taken by police. It showed the route officers believed the toddler took.​

Abby is thought to have slipped out of the back door of the building after it was unlocked for children to return ride-on toys to a shed in the courtyard.​

Mr and Mrs Rae have two other children, Joshua, aged seven, and 18-month-old Toby. They now live in Southend Bradfield, Berks. The inquest continues.​

Last year I took my youngest out of Nursery after realizing that most (90%) of the child minders where on YTS (or what ever it is called this year). I found this intolerable.

But I posted this thread as the element where Mr Peachey said he was to scared to help. I think this is a real sad reflation of today society. TBH I too (although I would be concerned) would not if I was on my own stop to help (I feel ashamed saying that) a child on their own, as the turn of events can spiral out of control and next think you know your sat in a police cell.

A few years ago we had an Greek family staying us. The Dad had taken some photos of his children playing in the local park. Someone noticed this and did not realize that they where this children, he was arrested and spent 18hrs (overnight while they had the pictures developed) the inspector also issued a search warrant for his family's hotel room. I felt so sorry for him and his family.
 
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