Heartache could be repeated, say Ashley’s family

IPSWICH: A grieving family today renewed their call for improved safety precautions at the pond where their beloved son and brother lost his life after going for a swim.

Ashley Dorling, who grew up in Lavender Hill in Chantry, drowned in the pond in Jovian Way on July 4 last year.

But today the 15-year-old’s mother claimed the safety measures to protect members of the public from a similar tragic accident were not sufficient.

An inquest into his death yesterday heard there was no life-ring was available when rescuers went to help him.

Battling their grief, his family have now called for greater measures to be taken to ensure others would not suffer the same fate.

As Evening Star reporter Lizzie Parry found yesterday, part of the fence has been re-fitted in Jovian Way preventing people from getting to the water, but the pond is easily accessible from the opposite side.

Less than five minutes from the cycle path, which connects Bramford Road with Sproughton Road down a well-trodden pathway, through brambles and undergrowth, lies the pond.

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A new life-ring has been installed in the holder which lay empty when desperate attempts were made to rescue Ashley from the water last summer.

The life-ring is at one end of the pond behind a gate, chained and locked shut, making it difficult to reach if people don’t access it from the Jovian Way pathway.

It is surrounded by coarse bramble and bushes set above the steep banks making it troublesome to reach from the water’s edge if approaching it from the cycle path.

Ashley’s mum, Rosemary Dorling, said she fears a similar incident could occur again.

Mrs Dorling, who now lives in St Catherines Court in Chantry, said: “There are children there all the time. I believe it is just an accident waiting to happen again.

“If the lifebelt had been there, it could have saved Ashley’s life.”

One nearby resident, who asked not to be named, said yesterday: “I think more needs to be done to stop people from getting to the pond.”

The pond is owned by two parties – 60 per cent is owned by Crest Nicholson (Eastern) Ltd, who were last night unavailable for comment.

At the time of the tragedy, James Moody, managing director of Crest Nicholson (Eastern) Ltd, said: “Crest Nicholson have put in place fencing and planting specifically with the intention of deterring use of the pond.”

The remaining 40pc is owned by a family in Leiston, who at yesterday’s inquest pledged to re-examine issues surrounding the fence.

n Do you think the pond in Jovian Way is dangerous? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail evening starletters@eveningstar.co.uk

IPSWICH: An inquest into the death of Ashley Dorling heard vivid accounts from those who battled to save his young life.

The 15-year-old, from Lavender Hill, Ipswich, tragically died on Saturday, July 4, 2009, after visiting a pond near Jovian Way with his older brother Gary and best friend, Liam Vinyard.

An inquest into his death, held at Ip-city in Hawes Street, Ipswich, yesterday, heard how the trio visited the pond on a hot summer’s day with the intention of going swimming.

On approaching the pond, they had asked a fisherman whether the pond was deep – to which he answered yes.

Liam and Ashley, who was not a strong swimmer, entered the murky deep waters, however Ashley got into difficulty and both Liam and Gary frantically tried to rescue him.

Emergency services were called to the scene by a member of the public at about 4.10pm after hearing shouting.

On arrival officers and paramedics dived in the water in attempts to trace Ashley.

Despite their efforts, searching for more than an hour, they were unable to find the teen.

He was eventually found and taken to Ipswich Hospital, where he was confirmed dead at 6.04pm.

Officers at the scene recalled seeing bubbles rise from the pond for a short time until the water became still.

In a series of statements by officers and paramedics, it was heard that the efforts to save Ashley had been hindered by the dirty water, thick sand at the bottom of the pond and objects such as shopping trolleys and tyres.

David Sexby, the paramedic who was first at the scene, said he had asked for the nearby life ring, but it had not been in its casing at the time of the incident and was missing.

Issues surrounding access to the pond were also voiced by the coroner.

Greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean concluded that the former Holywells High School pupil had drowned as a result of a tragic accident.

Dr Dean later asked the two parties who own the pond – 60per cent is owned by Crest Nicholson (Eastern) Ltd and 40pc privately owned by a family in Leiston – to look at aspects of security in terms of fencing off the area completely.

It was heard that the Crest Nicholson (Eastern) Ltd side of the pond had been fenced.

One member of the family in Leiston, who was present at the inquest, said that they would build a fence if it was deemed necessary.

Afterwards, Ashley’s mum, Rosemary Dorling, told The Evening Star that she was thankful to everyone who attempted to rescue her son.