A TEENAGER accused of the manslaughter of a Pershore teenager on the Worcester to Birmingham Canal in March has been acquitted after prosecutors offered no evidence against him.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded not guilty to the charge during a hearing at Worcester Crown Court on Tuesday (June 21).
Following the plea, Gareth Walters said he would be offering no evidence for the prosecution against the teenager who was charged with the manslaughter of Sean Stevens on March 31.
Mr Walters told the court the teenager, together with Mr Stevens and a group of friends had been out in Worcester during the evening and were walking by the canal close to Bilford Road.
“The group were in high spirits and many had drunk a moderate amount of alcohol,” he told the court.
Mr Walters said the teenager and Mr Stevens, 17, then began ‘play-fighting’ which led to shadow boxing close to the water’s edge.
The court heard how the teenager then caught Mr Stevens with a glancing blow to the eye which sent the 17-year-old into the water.
Although Mr Stevens fell into the water concious, the court heard the 17-year-old could not swim and struggled to keep his head above the water.
The brave efforts of Callum Telford were praised as the court heard how the teenager entered the water, despite also not being able to swim, in a bid to save Mr Stevens.
Judge Robert Juckes QC also heard none of the group had mobile phones to call the emergency services and were only able to raise the alarm when they alerted a passer-by.
Members of the fire service pulled Mr Stevens from the water but the 17-year-old had spent considerable time underwater, the court heard.
CPR was performed at the scene by paramedics and Mr Stevens was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead later that evening.
Explaining the decision to offer no evidence, Mr Walters said: “Sean’s death is due to drowing and there is no significant suggestion of assault having taken place.
“Neither had any motive to hurt each other. It was a tragic accident,” he added.
Mr Stevens’ parents were informed of the decision before the hearing and His Honour Judge Juckes praised them for their ‘compassion’ and West Mercia Police for a thorough investigation.
The teenager was released on bail, subject to conditions, to appear at Worcester Magistrates Court on separate charges of assaulting two police officers and other, unrelated offences.