A teary eyed woman who answered the door of her family home today said: “We’re
heartbroken. It’s too upsetting to talk about what’s happened at the moment.”

Neighbour Sharon Wiltshire said: “It’s absolutely heartbreaking. Imie was
a gorgeous little girl, I’d see her beautiful fair hair bobbing part my
window all the time. She was always smiling and always happy.

“This is a tragedy – I can’t even begin to imagine how her family must be
feeling. It’s every mother’s worst nightmare.

“My son used to play with Imie’s twin brother, CJ, and all the kids who
live on the street play really nicely together.

“We all let them play on the street, and all of us parents look out of
them. I feel safe letting my kids play outside because I know all the mums
are looking out for them.

“I have no idea why Imie and the others were down by the canal – it’s not
normally where they are allowed to go. They must have slipped away and gone
wandering down the canal. This is a very tight knit community, and we are
all in shock – no-one can believe what has happened.

“All the parents are absolutely devastated. I don’t think any of our
children will be playing out for a long time after this.”

Superintendent Kevin Purcell, of West Mercia Police, said the incident
appeared to be “an extremely tragic accident” at this stage.

“Our thoughts are with Imie’s family, who are absolutely devastated by
her death.

“We are working hard to establish exactly how Imie came to be in the
water.”

Supt Purcell said police would be working with partners including the council
children’s services department to support children from Imie’s school, in
Kidderminster.

Gail Quinton, director of children’s services at Worcestershire County
Council, said: “The council will be working closely with the police to
support the investigation and also the school, to support pupils and staff
at this sad and difficult time.”

All three were taken to hospital. The other two children were expected to make
a full recovery.

Police said in a statement: “Emergency services were called to the scene in
Springfield Park at just before 6.20pm on Tuesday 19 March following reports
that three children had fallen into the canal.

“It appears that two of the children managed to get themselves out of the
water but the third child – a six-year-old girl – was in the water for some
time before being rescued.

“The three children were all rushed to hospital but sadly the six-year-old
girl was pronounced dead a short time after arriving at Birmingham
Children’s Hospital.

“The two other children are expected to make a full recovery.”

Six-year-old girl had been playing with friends before falling in canal lock – Telegraph.co.uk
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