Death probe girl named

TRIBUTES were today paid to a 12-year-old girl with disabilities who died in a bath at her Ipswich home.Police are investigating after Laiken Bonne, of Greenfinch Avenue, is believed to have tipped over in a water-filled bath.

TRIBUTES were today paid to a 12-year-old girl with disabilities who died in a bath at her Ipswich home.

Police are investigating after Laiken Bonne, of Greenfinch Avenue, is believed to have tipped over in a water-filled bath.

She was taken to Ipswich Hospital, but doctors could not save her life and police were told of her death.

Officers are now looking into the circumstances surrounding the girl's death, while social services have also launched an inquiry into the incident.

One resident, who did not want to be named, said he became aware of the unfolding tragedy, which happened late Monday afternoon: "I looked out and saw blue flashing lights through the window," he said.

"I first thought it was the police but it was an ambulance. We are very sad."

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Another neighbour, who also did not want to be named, described the death as "a terrible tragedy".

Pat Cook, of Premier Estate Stores in Greenfinch Avenue, said: "I was shocked, it was terrible. Everyone knows the family and you can't believe it." She added that a collection would be started to help the girl's family.

Odran Doran, headteacher at Heathside special school in Heath Road where Laiken was a pupil, said out of respect for her family he would prefer not to pay his tribute at this stage.

Her parents Tracey and Shaun came to England from Zimbabwe after the birth of Laiken, because of the lack of necessary medical facilities in the African country.

The family took to people's hearts and money was raised to buy the brave girl a specially designed wheelchair.

Thanks to a partnership between Disability Care Enterprise, insurance company Anglia Countrywide and The Evening Star, Laiken received her new chair on Christmas Eve 1998.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police confirmed officers had been called in to investigate after a young girl had died Ipswich Hospital.

She said: "We are currently conducting inquiries following the sudden death of a 12-year-old girl.

"The girl had been taken to hospital by the ambulance service from an address in Greenfinch Avenue, Ipswich.

"The girl, who is disabled, had allegedly tipped backwards in a bath. A post-mortem examination was carried out by a Home Office pathologist on Tuesday, January 4, and further tests will be carried out."

She said the coroner had been informed of the death and added: "Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding this unexplained death and are liasing with social care services."

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council's social care services said: "We have been made aware of a police investigation surrounding the death of a 12-year-old disabled child, as is customary in the case of any child's death. As inquiries are ongoing, we cannot comment further at this stage."

A spokeswoman for the East Anglian Ambulance Service said a call was taken just before 5.15pm on Monday with a report of a girl who was in a bath and not breathing.

Two ambulances and a rapid response vehicle were sent to the scene and the child was taken to Ipswich Hospital, she added.

The family declined to comment.

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