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BREAKING NEWS: Care workers cleared over death of boy at Bawsey Pits

People paddling in the water and sunbathing at Bawsey Pits.
People paddling in the water and sunbathing at Bawsey Pits.

Two care workers have been cleared of failing to ensure the health and safety of a teenager who drowned at a West Norfolk beauty spot.

Umar Balogun, 16, drowned at Bawsey Pits, near Lynn, in July 2013.

This afternoon were found not guilty of failing to take reasonable care of the health and safety of Umar and the other boy in their charge at Lynn Crown Court.

A jury of seven men and five women unanimously cleared the pair after around six hours of deliberations.

Earlier, during his summing up, Judge Mark Dennis QC said the jury had to apply an “objective” test of what would have been reasonable for the defendants to do on the day of the tragedy.

He said: “There is no all encompassing argument of what is reasonable care that will fit every case.

“What may be reasonable in one set of circumstances may not be in another.”

The prosecution alleged both Roweth, formerly of Edinburgh Drive, Wisbech, and Cawley, of Hazel Croft, Werrington, Peterborough, did not take proper care of the boys’ safety both before and after arriving at Bawsey.

The court heard the pair had not planned properly for the likelihood of swimming activity and did not act either to prevent them entering the water or to get them out once they did so.

But the defence argued that the defendants had acted reasonably, when all the circumstances of the day were taken into account.

The court was told that more experienced members of staff should have gone on the trip and the defendants had been “set up to fail” by the home’s managers.

The court also heard that the home’s owner, Castle Homes Limited, had previously pleaded guilty to a charge of failing in its duty of care to the boys as an employer.

A sentencing hearing for the firm has been provisionally listed to take place at the Old Bailey, in central London, on March 2.

But the judge said that should have no bearing on the jury’s verdict.

He said they should use their individual and collective experience of life in considering the case.

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