Inquest opens into death of teenager, 16

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An inquest into the death of a teenager who drowned at a West Norfolk beauty spot almost two years ago has begun.

A jury was sworn in at the Norwich coroner’s court yesterday to hear the case of 16-year-old Umar Balogun, who died at the Bawsey Pits site, near Lynn, in July 2013.

The inquest, which will be heard by Norfolk’s senior coroner, Jacqueline Lake, has been scheduled to last for up to five days.

Umar, who was from the Waltham Forest area of London and had been living in the Ely area prior to his death, drowned in a lake at the beauty spot on July 16, 2013.

A second man, Ryan Pettingell, who was 41 and from Lynn, also drowned in the same incident.

An inquest held into his death in February last year was told that he had gone into the water to try to find Umar after hearing he had gone missing.

Following the two deaths, the site’s then owners, Sibelco, closed off the area in a bid to prevent people from swimming there, particularly in warm weather.

The tragedy also led to a wide-ranging debate about how the site could best be developed for community and public use in the future.

Earlier this year, a deal to sell the site to Wisbech-based businessman Kevin Salter was announced.

At the time, he revealed plans for a three-phase development of the site, including an adventure play area, visitor centre, wildlife viewing areas and car parking.