Boy died in river trying to save two friends

A 12-year-old boy died trying to save two of his friends after they got into difficulty in a river, an inquest has heard.

Owen Jenkins was swept away by a current after lifting his friend Jorgie Myers out of the River Trent.

He decided to enter a stretch called Beeston Weir because Jorgie and another girl Chelsea Holroyd shouted they were in trouble, Nottinghamshire Coroner’s Court was told.

Owen’s body was found by an underwater rescue team four hours after he went missing.

A post-mortem examination found he died from drowning and that there were no illicit or prescribed substances in his system.

Coroner Mairin Casey said Owen was at the weir at around 6pm on 10 July last year with four friends: Jorgie, Chelsea, Paige Haworth and Emma Keeton.

Summarising events, the coroner said: “At some point they got into some kind of trouble in the water and clearly Paige, Emma and Owen became aware of that and perceived Jorgie and Chelsea to be having difficulty.

The father, mother and brother of Owen Jenkins, Gary, Nicola and Jordan Jenkins

Image: The father, mother and brother of Owen Jenkins, Gary, Nicola and Jordan Jenkins

“It was at that point that Chelsea and Jorgie were in trouble and he took the decision to enter the water himself. Owen undressed and entered the water.

“He managed to throw her some distance (towards the shore) before he himself couldn’t resist the current.”

Jorgie said in a statement read to the court: “I started to panic because I could feel the water pulling me. I didn’t know what to do because I couldn’t swim.

“I screamed to Owen ‘help us, we’re floating away, we need help!'”

The coroner said Owen shouted to Emma to get Chelsea while he rescued Jorgie.

Jorgie’s statement continued: “I was pulled out of the water, I saw that Owen had got to me and lifted me up like someone carrying a baby.

“He then dropped me and told me to lay on my back and drift back to the shore.”

Owen – who was a talented runner and rugby player – has been hailed as a hero by his family and the community around Beeston Weir, the inquest was told.

The coroner concluded that Owen suffered an accidental death when he drowned.

She told Owen’s family: “I have been humbled by your dignity throughout this process. There will always be exceptional children like Owen who selflessly help others.

“It’s entirely in keeping with this young man’s personality that his immediate response was to warn others to help carry those who were struggling and enter the water himself.”

The hearing was attended by his mother Nicola, 42, his brother, Jordan, and his father, Gary, 43, who wore a purple t-shirt that read “for Owen”.

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