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Newbury MP calls for safety measures on Kennet and Avon Canal following death of 3-year-old



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MP asks for meeting with Canal and River Trust

Newbury MP Laura Farris has asked for safety measures to be installed on the Kennet and Avon Canal following the death of a boy at the weekend.

The three-year-old and his mother fell into the water by Ash Bridge, near the weir behind the former Newbury Weekly News offices, on Saturday.

The boy, who has been identified as Dylan Milsom, and his mother were rescued and taken to hospital but Thames Valley Police confirmed on Sunday that Dylan had died.

More than 4,300 people have signed a petition calling for the weir to be fenced off since it launched four days ago.

Mrs Farris has now asked for a meeting to discuss safety measures with Canal and River Trust, which owns the land and sluice, and is conducting an investigation into Dylan's death.

In her letter to the director of the South West and Wales for the Canal and River Trust, Mark Evans, Mrs Farris said that Dylan's death followed others along the stretch of water.

Newbury woman Tracey Maslin, 46, died after falling in the canal in November 2017. The body of Thatcham man Steve Holland, 59, was found in the River Kennet in December 2017, two weeks after he was last seen leaving a pub in Newbury.

Inquests ruled the deaths of Mrs Maslin and Mr Holland to be accidental, with the cause as drowning while under the influence of alcohol.

Last month the body of man was retrieved from the river near Northcroft Lane. An inquest has not been opened.

Mrs Farris said she wanted to meet Mr Evans to discuss the possibility of a safety barrier in Victoria Park and other measures along the canal through Newbury.

She said: "I know that by now you will be aware of the terrible accident that took place on the Kennet Canal on Saturday, 13th March when little Dylan Milsom fell into the water and tragically died."

"Every one of these lives lost is a tragedy and raises significant issues about public safety along the canal that runs through the centre of Newbury.

"It is of particular note that all of these accidents appear to have occurred within a few hundred metres of one another on the same stretch of water."

The petition can be signed here



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