Canal death boy was berry picking

Tragic location: Floral tributes at the spot where Matthew slipped in the canal.
Tragic location: Floral tributes at the spot where Matthew slipped in the canal.

A COUSIN of canal death boy Matthew Cartwright made a desperate bid to save him before running for help, it has emerged.

The inquest into the death of the eight-year-old Mexborough schoolboy also heard the pair were blackberrying near the canal bank at Swinton when the tragedy happened on Bank Holiday Monday.

Canal tragedy boy: Matthew Cartwright.

Canal tragedy boy: Matthew Cartwright.

Emergency services pulled Matthew from the murky South Yorkshire Navigation near Talbot Road but it is not known how long he had been in the water.

He was taken by police helicopter to Rotherham District General Hospital and later transferred to the Sheffield Children’s Hospital but died the following evening at 10pm.

Rotherham Coroner Nicola Mundy yesterday adjourned the inquest after hearing evidence of identification in a statement from Matthew’s mother, Donna Bradshaw.

Coroner’s officer Paul Hawker gave evidence that Matthew was playing with a cousin on the afternoon of August 29 when they made their way to the canal near Swinton Lock and decided to go to the bank looking for blackberries.

“Matthew stood too close to the bank and fell in. His cousin tried to help him and then ran for help,” said PC Hawker.

Emergency services were called and officers managed to get him out of the canal before he was taken to hospital by helicopter which landed on a nearby playing field.

Mrs Bradshaw said her son was placed on a life support machine at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and she was present when he died on August 30.

Ms Mundy adjourned the hearing to await a post-mortem report and further police investigations before granting the family a burial order.

Matthew, who lived in Windhill Terrace, Mexborough, was a pupil at Windhill Primary School.

Since the tragedy families living nearby have been organising a petition to have the overgrown area where Matthew fell in fenced off.