The lawyer for Shukri Abdi’s family has said that he’s seeking a gross negligence manslaughter verdict at least, as the inquest into the drowning of the 12 year old girl resumed at Rochdale Coroners Court today.
Ashley Underwood QC added that he has not ruled out a verdict of murder in the case which has been delayed for nine months by the coronavirus pandemic.
Reporting restrictions prevent 5Pillars from naming the four children who were with Shukri at the River Irwell in Bury at the time of her death. But the evidence revolves around “Child One” who has been accused of threatening Shukri and coercing her into the river where she drowned in June 2019.
Today the court heard written and oral evidence from Child One who said they were friends with Shukri and that they had tried their best to save her.
Child One said after school they and another child had gone with Shukri to Primark (where they were warned for shoplifting), and then to a bus station where Shukri said she wanted to go home because she had a religious exam and didn’t want to get into trouble with her mum.
But “Child Two” persuaded Shukri to first go to Child One’s house for some food and then to a waterpark. On their way to the waterpark they inadvertently met up with two other children so changed their minds and headed to the River Irwell for a swim instead. Child One said that Shukri was in a good mood at all times during the day and was not threatened or coerced.
Child One said they got into the water first and that Shukri had told the others that she wasn’t sure if she could swim. Shukri grabbed onto Child One while in the water but her hand slipped out of Child One’s grasp as Shukri struggled in deep water. Shukri then submerged into the river before emerging again and crying for help. She submerged once more never to return.
Child One said they did their best to help Shukri but it was too dangerous and they became panic stricken and froze. Child One described Shukri as a friend who they really miss.
Also giving evidence, senior investigating officer Andrew Naismith, of Greater Manchester Police, said that he had concluded that there was no criminality in the case.
He said: “I went into the investigation with an open mind and I looked at the evidence and evaluated it. If the evidence had taken me down the route of criminality I would have gone down that route, but the evidence suggests nothing criminal took place.”
In March the inquest heard from “Child Four,” who was sat on the riverbank at the time of the incident. Child Four was asked “at any point when Shukri was struggling was Child One laughing?” The child replied: “Yes.”
Child Four said Child One continued to laugh even after Child Four jumped into the water to try and save Shukri.
And “Child Five” told the inquest that hours before her death Shukri had been “pushed around” by one of the children who went with her to the river.
They described witnessing Shukri at Broad Oak school in Bury (which Shukri, Child One and Child Two attended) at the end of the school day at 3.20pm. The child said that Shukri was approached in the locker room by Child One and Child Two.
The witness said that the physical approach was from Child One who “started pushing her around” and then told Shukri to get changed.
The inquest is due to continue until Friday.