The grieving mother of a 12-year-old girl who died in Bournemouth Beach last Wednesday (31) has pleaded with authorities to provide some clarity on the circumstances surrounding her death.
Sunnah Khan from Buckinghamshire, and Joe Abbess, 17, from Southampton were rescued from the sea on Wednesday (31) but both of them died later in hospital.
Khan was enjoying her half-term break with her siblings, father Asim Khan and mother Stephanie Williams when the tragedy took place.
“It’s just really difficult to accept,” Williams told The Sun. “Somebody has potentially caused Sunnah to be taken away from us.”
She added the cause of her daughter’s death was drowning but there were “no other injuries”. “We don’t actually know how it came about,” she said.
“Sunnah was so well loved and well liked. No parent should ever have to go through what her dad and I are going through. We love you so much baby girl,” said Williams.
Dorset Police have opened several lines of enquiry including the presence of a pleasure boat in the sea following the drownings.
While Williams said she was desperate to know what led to her daughter’s death who was swimming at the Victoria pier when the tragedy took place, police said it would take time to establish facts.
A man in his 40s was arrested in connection with the incident but he has been released under investigation.
The force also ruled out that the deceased had been involved in any collision or contact with any vessel in the water.
Detective Chief Superintendent Neil Corrigan said, “We are working with experts from partner agencies to understand all of the factors and this will take time to establish.”
“I would ask that the police investigation is allowed to continue without further unhelpful speculation around circumstances of the incident,” Corrigan said.
Liaison officers were keeping the families of Sunnah and Joe about the progress of the investigation, he said.
But Williams, who said her family was “traumatised” after witnessing the tragedy, said she did not receive any further information about the incident than what was said in the police statement. The A&E nurse believes somebody “has potentially caused Sunnah to be taken away from us.
“We don’t actually know how it came about,” she told the Sun, and added she failed to understand “how somebody can be released on bail for double manslaughter?”
Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East, criticised the police investigation saying a lack of clarity had led to “wild speculation on social media”.
However, David Sidwick, the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, defended the police handling of the incident.
He told BBC Radio 4: “At this moment in time, we have to understand that this is an immensely complex situation. The police moved to rule out those things which they could rule out when they had enough evidence to be able to do that.
“What they can’t do is say what exactly happened and they shouldn’t because the veracity of any statement made by those investigating this incident must be beyond reproach.
“And not just for any legal situation, but also because it is, to remind everyone – the victims and their families’ needs are paramount.