A STEPFATHER has been convicted of gross negligence manslaughter after leaving five-year-old Charlie Dunn from Tamworth to drown at a water park last year.
Today (Tuesday) Paul Smith, 36, of Caledonian, Glascote Heath, pleaded guilty to the crime part way through his trail at Birmingham Crown Court.
Smith had denied letting the boy wander off alone for more than two hours but changed his plea during the trial.
He also admitted one count of witness intimidation, committed on 19 June this year.
Charlie’s mother, Lynsey Dunn, 28, has had the charge of Manslaughter dropped.
She did admit a charge of neglect in connection with Charlie after an incident between July 2014 and July 2016, in which she failed to supervise him near a busy road.
Dunn also pleaded guilty to a second charge of neglect in relation to another youngster, who cannot be named, after an incident in the summer of 2015.
Both defendants will be sentenced on 20 December.
The court heard how Charlie drowned at Bosworth Water Park in Market Bosworth, Leicestershire on Saturday 23 July 2016.
He was at the park with his family, when at just before 3pm – almost three hours after they arrived – Charlie was pulled, unresponsive, from the water.
A paramedic carried out CPR, before he was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A police investigation was launched and a significant number of enquiries followed which allowed detectives to piece together Charlie’s movements on that day. This resulted in numerous witness reports confirming Charlie had been left unsupervised by Smith on many occasions throughout the day.
Acting Detective Inspector Nikki McLatchie, who was part of the investigation team, said that this was a complex and challenging case to investigate.
She said: “There were up to 1,000 people at the park that day, people who we knew would be able provide us with the vital information to help our investigation into what happened to Charlie.
“Witness testimony showed that Charlie was left alone on numerous occasions, despite him not being able to swim. Smith was looking after Charlie at the park, and his failure as a parent came with the most tragic consequences and ultimately lead to his death.
“This has been an incredibly difficult and complex case to investigate, and has involved many different forms of enquiry over the last 17 months. There were hundreds of people at the park that day, many who came to Charlie’s aid, who were understandably shaken by what happened.
“I would like to thank all those who came forward to help with our investigation, and while it won’t bring Charlie back, hopefully the guilty plea will bring some comfort to all those who knew him.”