Two-year-old girl dies in hospital after falling into pond on farm near Manchester - having been left on her own for 33 minutes

An inquest has heard about the harrowing final moments of a two-year-old girl who died when she stumbled into a pond
Masie Lomax-Newton died when she fell in a pondMasie Lomax-Newton died when she fell in a pond
Masie Lomax-Newton died when she fell in a pond

A two-year-old girl tragically died three weeks after she fell into a pond at a farm where her mum and grandmother were working.

An inquest into the death of Masie Lomax-Newton heard that she would regularly accompany her mum Emma and gran Cindy Molyneux to a farm where the family rented out stables for their ponies and also looked after other animals kept there. However Masie got into a pond through loose fencing and was found lying face down in the water. It was more than 30 minutes before her absence was noticed and the alarm was raised.

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She was taken to Royal Bolton Hospital and then to Manchester Children’s Hospital – however attempts to save her proved futile and, with the parents’ agreement, life support was withdrawn and she died on December 1, 2021. The inquest heard that her dad Robert first became aware of the tragedy when he received a “frantic phone call” at work from his wife Emma on November 8, 2021.

She told him that their daughter Masie had been found floating in a pond and rushed to hospital. Mr Lomax-Newton said in a statement that his daughter’s death had been a “tremendous shock” to them all and difficult to deal with. Dawn Jones, the owner of Crab Fold Farm in Atherton, between Wigan and Manchester, where the tragedy occurred, said the pond was not on their land. Since the incident she had stopped renting out stables to people who had horses.

The inquest heard that the fencing around the pond had been “compromised". Following the death, Greater Manchester Police launched a simultaneous criminal investigation and a separate one regarding child safeguarding. Det Insp Nathan Percival said that Masie had last been seen eating chocolate on a bench by the pond, but for 33 minutes had not been supervised by her mum or grandmother. By the time she was pulled out by her mum Emma, the little girl had been in the freezing cold water for around 19 minutes. When Masie was admitted to Royal Bolton Hospital, she was found to be suffering from hypothermia. Although her heart was restarted, she had also suffered severe brain damage due to lack of oxygen.

Her grandad, Charles, told the inquest that after she was transferred to Manchester Children’s Hospital, he would still read to her every night even though she was unresponsive. He said: “She has left a really big hole in my heart that can never be filled.”

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The coroner, Michael Pemberton, delivered a narrative conclusion, saying that Masie died as a result of accidentally falling into a pond while unsupervised by adults. This led to a brain injury and she succumbed to broncho-pneumonia once life support was withdrawn.

The cause of death was given as drowning. He ruled that neglect had contributed to her death, but added that this related to the cause of death and not to the general standard of care she received from her parents, and that Masie was a “very loved child”. He said: “Any death is tragic, the death of a child even more so. I hope that you can find some closure now.”

Emma Lomax-Newton, 30, and grandmother Cindy Molyneux, 52, had previously pleaded guilty to child neglect. They were both sentenced to a 12-month community order as well as 15 days of rehabilitation activity requirement (RAR) at Manchester Crown Court in December 2023.

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