August 8, 2006
of Lelaina Hall awaits judgment in lawsuit against council
legal decision is expected soon over the tragic death of Lelaina
Hall at Berrow, near Burnham-On-Sea, in 2002.
five-year-old drowned when she became trapped in low-tide mud
four years ago. The Western Daily Press reports that her
family is awaiting judgment in a lawsuit it has brought against
Sedgemoor District Council.
newspaper states that the claim relates to an alleged breach of
duty of care, such as a lack of warning signs on the beach to
warn families of the danger.
case began in 2002, before the inquest into Lelaina's death, as
the family sought every avenue they could to make sure there could
be no repeat of the tragedy.
mother, Caroline Hall, 35, from Worcester, told the newspaper:
"I remember my dad was angry about signs, and not being warned.
He got in touch with a friend of his who was a solicitor, and
he gave some advice."
Hall added: "You feel angry after something like that happens.
You look for reasons, and how it could have been prevented."
Lelaina's death, warning signs have been installed at Berrow and
along the coastline near Burnham-On-Sea, and Ms Hall said this
had been a large part of the intention of the legal action. If
judgment is given against the council, it may be liable for damages;
Ms Hall said, however, this was not the purpose of the case. "There
is no compensation that can make up for what has happened,"
the lawsuit she said she felt responsible for what happened, and
she was not seeking to make the council a scapegoat. "It
is not about apportioning blame, but I suppose I feel that more
could have been done," she said, adding that she was "not
keen" on taking it to the courts. But she felt in this case
it might help to protect other lives and improve safety along
the coast, and she thinks the legal action has helped drive some
of the measures brought in since Lelaina's death.
issue surrounds duty of care, she said, and whether the council
had responsibility for the safety of those using the beach.
a spokeswoman for Sedgemoor District Council said no comment could
be made because legal processes were still "ongoing".
tragedy of Lelaina's death sparked a campaign to buy a hovercraft
to patrol the coastline, and the Spirit of Lelaina is now in its
third season of operation, having helped to rescue and help over