Jessica Lawson drowning: Teachers not guilty over girl’s death in Franceon October 5, 2022 at 3:40 pm

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Jessica Lawson, 12, died after a pontoon capsized in a lake near Limoges in 2015.

Brenda, Jessica and Tony LawsonImage source, Lawson family

Three British teachers have been found not guilty of the equivalent of manslaughter by gross negligence after a girl drowned on a trip to France.

Jessica Lawson, who attended Wolfreton School near Hull, had been swimming in a lake near Limoges in July 2015 when a plastic pontoon overturned.

Chantelle Lewis, Daisy Stathers and Steven Layne have been cleared of any wrongdoing.

The lifeguard on duty and the local authority were also found not guilty.

A judicial hearing in France was told 24 children, aged 12 to 17, had been swimming when the incident happened and Jessica was found beneath the pontoon. She later died in hospital.

French prosecutors had recommended Ms Lewis, Ms Stathers and Mr Layne as well as lifeguard Leo Lemaire be jailed for three years.

Giving her verdicts through a translator to the Palais de Justice in Tulle on Wednesday, the head of jurisdiction in Tulle, Marie-Sophie Waguette, told the four: “The area was being surveyed by the lifeguard, the lifeguard was present, the flag was green.

“There was not any reason to think that the floating platform could turn over. We don’t know why her drowning took place at the time when the platform turned over.

“There is therefore no evidence to show that they were negligent – therefore you are found not guilty.”

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