Jury Returns Verdict into Tragic Drowning of Walsall Man

Swimming Pool Death


A jury returned its narrative verdict today in the inquest into the death of Adrian Miles, a former army officer who died tragically after drowning in the University of Wolverhampton's Walsall campus swimming pool on 27 July, 2006.

Adrian Miles, who was 48 when he died, had already made a remarkable recovery from an injury which had left him paralysed in 2005. Mr Miles was taking part in a charity rugby match when a tragic accident left him paralysed from the neck down.

He went from having no feeling or movement in his limbs, to being able to walk with a single crutch, swim 30 lengths and drive a car. Medical staff were astounded at the extent of his recovery.

Mr Miles, from Walsall, took up swimming after the accident as a therapeutic exercise and had gone to swim at the University of Wolverhampton's Walsall swimming pool which he had been using regularly for 2 months.

Two lifeguards who were working at the time declined to give evidence at the inquest but a number of witnesses who were using the pool at the time stated that the lifeguards only became aware that Mr Miles was at the bottom of the pool when fellow swimmers raised the alarm. In a narrative verdict responding to questions set by the Coroner the Jury were highly critical of the management and supervision of the swimming pool in which Mr Miles drowned.

Adrian's wife Ann Miles said: "Knowing what happened will never bring my husband back, but it is important that those involved understand what went wrong and why Adrian died.

"The way in which my husband lived his life following the rugby accident was an inspiration not only to me and his family but to everyone who knew him. He fought so hard, despite many set backs, to do everything he could to aid his recovery. We are all totally devastated by his loss and the way in which he has been badly let down by the University of Wolverhampton and its staff who we consider owed him a duty of care. We are pleased with the Jury's verdict and hope that this will help to prevent such a tragedy occurring in the future."

Sarah Mullen a solicitor at law firm Irwin Mitchell who represents Mrs Miles said:

"What happened to Mr Miles was an absolute tragedy. The inquest was an emotional experience for Mrs Miles and her whole family as this has been their first opportunity to hear about and understand the reasons why Adrian came to drown in a supervised public swimming pool.

Ms Mullen continued: "We believe the evidence heard at the inquest supports our view that the lifeguards should have seen that Mr Miles was in difficulty and had they done so we believe that he would then have been rescued and his life saved.

"The inquest has revealed major flaws in the organisation, management and supervision of the swimming pool and the pool staff. I would invite all those responsible for public swimming pools to review their systems to ensure that this tragedy is not repeated."