Happy little boy, 1, died after being left for a minute by lake on trip

A "happy little" one-year-old boy died after "being left for a minute" by a lake, an inquest heard.

Melvin Gurung was just days away from his second birthday when he tragically drowned during a family fishing trip at Manningford Trout Fishery in Pewsey, Wiltshire, on November 14 last year.

The youngster had been playing while his family caught trout, but disappeared when asked to wait outside the toilet for his uncle.

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His family desperately searched in the woods and main road for him, at which point they were joined by two police officers, DC Barratt and PC Jeremy Horner, who were patrolling the area.

Minutes later DC Barratt saw the boy's red boots in 4ft reeds and quickly pulled him out, but it was too late to save Melvin who was just 10 days off his second birthday.

The inquest at Salisbury Coroner's Court heard Melvin and his Nepalese family travelled from their home in Farnborough to fish at the farm, where they regularly visited.

At around 4pm, Melvin's ex-Army father Bikash and healthcare worker mother Menuka went to fish at a nearby lake on the site and left him playing with relative Amrit Gurung.

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"I played with him a bit and then we went to the toilet," said Amrit Gurung.

"He was playing outside and I picked him up and told him I was going to the toilet and to wait there and that I would not be long. I was inside for a minute or so."

After he went missing the family started a search, initially thinking he might have been in the woods and Melvin's father got into his car and was checking the main road.

DC Barratt and PC Jeremy Horner, who had been patrolling the area, joined the search and it was the former who found Melvin's body in the water.

Bikash Gurung told the inquest: "He was just below the surface and was camouflaged by the tall reeds.

"He looked normal to me, just as beautiful as he always did. I said [to paramedics] take him to a warm place."

Paramedics desperately tended to Melvin in what was a described as a "frantic situation" and he was airlifted to Salisbury District Hospital, Wilts, but was pronounced dead later that day.

Coroner Ian Singleton said: "I find the cause of death is drowning. Melvin was with his family visiting the trout fishery in the afternoon, he was left unattended for a short while.

"He was found on his back unresponsive in the lake. On the evidence, it's not possible to determine the precise sequence of events that led to him being found in the water."

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