'Beautiful' girl died of cardiac arrest after falling into duck pond

‘Beautiful’ girl, two, died of cardiac arrest after falling into 20-inch deep duck pond at her grandparents’ home, inquest hears

  • Violet Knox died after ‘tragic accident’ outside a cottage in Beck Row, Suffolk
  • She had been playing when her grandfather lost sight of her on February 23 
  • Toddler was found lying face down in pond by her grandmother Angela Peck 

A ‘beautiful’ toddler died of cardiac arrest after falling into a duck pond while playing in the garden at her grandparents’ home, an inquest heard today.

Violet Knox, two, was with another child outside the cottage in Beck Row, Suffolk on February 23 when her grandfather Andrew Peck lost sight of them both.

Mr Peck, who had been cutting wood outside the property, realised his granddaughter was missing when he noticed the other child was alone.      

The family searched the garden and Violet was found lying face down in the 20-inch-deep pond by her grandmother Angela Peck, Suffolk Coroner’s Court was told.

Her mother Katie Knox, 30, who is trained in first aid, desperately tried to revive her daughter by doing chest compressions.

Violet Knox, two, was with another child outside the cottage in Beck Row, Suffolk on February 23 when her grandfather Andrew Peck lost sight of them both

Paramedics, an air ambulance crew and doctors continued resuscitation attempts for two hours before she was pronounced dead at the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.   

A postmortem by consultant pathologist Xenia Tyler revealed that Violet had died ‘rapidly’ from a reflex cardiac arrest caused by sudden immersion in cold water, known as dry drowning. 

In a statement, Mr Peck, 50, told how mother-of-four Mrs Knox and Violet had returned to his home with other family members after a pub lunch on February 23.

He said: ‘Violet came outside with me and helped me put the wood away. I was cutting it and she was stacking it.’

Mr Peck added his granddaughter and the other child then began playing with a broken tent and jumping on a trampoline.

The family searched the garden and Violet was found lying face down in the 20-inch-deep pond by her grandmother Angela Peck, Suffolk Coroner’s Court was told. Pictured: Violet with her mother Katie Knox

Her mother Katie Knox, 30, who is trained in first aid, desperately tried to revive her daughter by doing chest compressions

A short while later, he noticed the other child was alone, and went inside to check on Violet thinking she might be in the bath.

‘The others said Violet wasn’t in from the garden yet,’ Mr Peck said.

‘They worried, thinking she had gone out of the driveway gate but the pin was down in the hole [holding it shut].’

Mr Peck said he then heard his wife Angela Peck scream ‘she’s here’ and saw Violet face down in the pond.

The inquest heard Violet was afraid of water and did not usually go near it, but the area may have been slippery due to recent rain. 

Mrs Peck said in a statement: ‘I saw Violet’s dress floating in the pond and I thought, “What is her dress doing there?”

‘As I got closer, I could see her head slightly underwater and screamed for help.’ 

Mrs Peck added that Violet and other children had always been told to stay away from the pond.

She said: ‘She had never been interested in the ducks and geese around the garden although she loved our puppy.’

A postmortem revealed that Violet had died ‘rapidly’ from a reflex cardiac arrest caused by sudden immersion in cold water, known as dry drowning. Pictured: Suffolk Coroner’s Court

Mrs Knox’s sister Amy Peck, 26, said in her statement: ‘Violet never normally went near the pond, but I remember it was very slippery due to recent rain.’ 

Consultant paediatrician Ian Evans said that Katie Knox and her husband Thomas were ‘distraught’ at the hospital as attempts continued to try and resuscitate Violet.

Detective Inspector Claire Baldwin of Suffolk Police described Violet’s death as ‘a tragic and devastating accident’.

Mrs Knox said: ‘Violet was a beautiful, loving little girl who loved to dance to any music, even stopping to dance outside shops if she heard tracks.

‘She loved Peppa Pig and Shaun the Sheep, and loved running up and down with her dolls’ pram. She had a smile and a wave for everybody.’

Suffolk coroner Nigel Parsley recorded a conclusion of accidental death. He added: ‘This is a particularly tragic case.’

Mrs Peck said after the hearing: ‘The NHS went above and beyond, and so did the air ambulance crew. I really want to praise them.’ 

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