Inquest Into Death Of Southfields Academy Teacher

James Murray died more than fifteen months after sinking in school pool

Southwark Coroners have heard that 31 year old James Murray, who was described as 'fit and strong', started his morning swim in September 2012 in the shallow end of the Southfields Academy school pool, but on his third length he began to struggle, calling for help whilst treading water.

The court heard that in accordance with school policy there were two members of staff who were trained as lifeguards and who were in the pool. Edyta Anna Drozd, a teaching assistant, told the court:
“I noticed he was not a very good swimmer. James swam maybe three lengths and started to fight with water in the deep end. He started to call for help and I started to swim towards him. By the time I got to the deep end he was already at the bottom.

“We had to push his body to the shallow end and then pull him out of the water. His skin was cold and pale and his heart was beating fast. I remember I felt numb.”

Mr Murray was carried into the changing rooms where first aid was carried out including chest compressions and rescue breaths. The paramedic team took him from the school to St George’s Hospital in Tooting where he was kept on life support for around a month. He was then transferred to a high-dependency unit and then to King’s College Hospital where he died in January 2014.

September 10, 2015