The family of a Bury schoolgirl who tragically drowned last week have cast doubt over a police statement that it was an accident.
Shukri Abdi, 12, died last Thursday after drowning in the River Irwell. Greater Manchester Police described the death as “an incredibly tragic incident” and said “there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances at this time.”
But Shukri’s family told 5Pillars that she was being badly bullied at Broad Oak Sports College where she was a student. They also said that she would never have ventured miles from her home to a beauty spot with children from her school.
Mustaf Omar Mohamed, Shukri’s cousin, said: “The police has told the media that it was a tragic accident so they have just repeated that, but we don’t think that stacks up because of things we have subsequently found out. We don’t believe it was an accident, we believe there is more to this story and we don’t believe we are getting the answers and support we deserve from the police and the school.
“We know that Shukri was being bullied and so do the school and the police. It was name-calling and physical. I don’t know why she was being bullied but she was a timid, scared, vulnerable girl so she was an easy target. Her mum went to the school to report it and was even in the process of taking her out of the school.
“What we want from the police and the school is a proper investigation. We want them to be fully honest about everything that led up to this incident. We don’t feel that we’re getting this cooperation at the moment.”
Mr Mohamed added that he felt the media had not reported the family’s comments faithfully.
Shukri Abdi was born in Somalia and came to this country as a refugee with her family. She had only been in England for a few years and has been described as a sweet, angelic, shy girl who was the perfect daughter.
Following her death, police warned about the dangers of swimming in rivers in the warm weather.
Detective Inspector Andrew Naismith said: “With the warmer weather, it’s tempting to go into the water to cool off, but I’d like to remind everyone of the dangers of playing near or swimming in rivers, lakes and reservoirs and would strongly urge against this.”
5Pillars has contacted Broad Oak Sports College about the bullying allegations and is still waiting for a response.
However, the school wrote a letter to parents this week pledging to pay tribute to Shukri.
Headteacher Paul Greenhaigh said: “I am writing to assure you that since hearing this news last week we have been working in partnership with Greater Manchester Police , Greater Manchester Fire, Healthy Young Minds (NHS), The Educational Psychology Team, Bury Social Care and Bury Local Authority to ensure all our young people are supported at this time…
“The students are very keen to make sure we move forward with respect and have already started to talk about how we can remember Shukri. They are very keen to have permanent memorials and charity activities in her memory and we will of course be taking this forward with Shukri’s family and in conjunction with local groups within the community and update you in the near future.”
Meanwhile, over 20,000 people have signed a petition demanding that James Frith MP and the Local Education Authority of Bury investigate Broad Oak High School for potential negligence and a potential breach of its duty of care towards its pupils in light of accusations of failure to address incidents of bullying.
The family is planning to hold a protest outside of the school on Friday at 2.30pm.