Stepdad admits manslaughter of boy, five, who was 'terrified of water' and drowned in water park pool
The stepdad of a five-year-old boy who was found drowned in a children's pool at a water park has pleaded guilty to his manslaughter.
Paul Smith, 36, had denied any wrongdoing over the death of little Charlie Dunn - who was said to be "terrified" of water - last summer.
However, he changed his plea part-way through the Birmingham Crown Court trial today, admitting manslaughter by gross negligence.
Jurors had heard how a group of other children pulled Charlie from a lagoon.
Smith had been allegedly seen smoking and heard saying: "For f***'s sake, we're ready to go. I don't know where he f****** is," they were told.
Charlie, from Tamworth, Staffordshire, was discovered in the 1.4-metre-deep lagoon at Bosworth Water Park in Leicestershire last July.
Jurors heard the little boy's lifeless body was pulled out of the water by three boys, aged 10 and 11, who felt him underneath their feet.
He was tragically pronounced dead in hospital. Prosecutors had said Charlie could not swim, while his mum said he was afraid of water.
Today, Charlie's mother, Lynsey Dunn, 28, also admitted a charge of neglect in connection with her son after an incident between July 2014 and July 2016, in which she failed to supervise him when Charlie was found in a pedal car next to a busy road.
Dunn also pleaded guilty to a second charge of neglect in relation to another youngster, who cannot be named, after an incident in the summer of 2015.
And it can be reported for the first time today that Smith admitted witness intimidation in connection with another incident relating to Charlie, prior to the trial.
Mrs Justice Nerys Jefford said: "I will sentence both defendants on December 20."
She then told the jury: "This system does not work without juries, and people like you.
"You are now free to go, your time as jurors is over. You have my thanks."
Following the guilty pleas, the prosecution said it would not continue the case against Dunn for manslaughter.
After the hearing, Dunn, who was granted bail, turned to Smith in the dock and said "call me".
She then blew him a kiss as he was led down the steps of the dock by security officers.
Opening the Crown's case on November 30, prosecutor Mary Prior QC said Charlie had been "left alone in a busy park at five years old in circumstances where there was a clear and obvious risk that he might come to very serious harm leading to his death".
She said Dunn and Smith had shown "ingrained and entrenched indifference", adding: "This case is not about parents turning their back for a minute whilst a tragedy occurs.
"We don't prosecute parents for unavoidable tragedies nor do we expect perfection in parenting.
"This is a gross failure to supervise not for seconds, and not for a few minutes, but for protracted perio ds of time in circumstances where the child was exposed to danger."Source: Google News