Inquest hears child minder searched for her phone after Erith six-year-old disappeared on beach
PUBLISHED: 10:45 02 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:45 02 October 2019
PA Archive/PA Images
A woman who was looking after a six-year-old Erith girl who drowned at a seaside resort has denied telling her to wash her hands in the sea after wetting herself.
Dajahnel Young was found in the sea at 3.13pm after being reported missing in Margate, Kent, during a summer trip with friends from her local church on July 28 last year.
She was pronounced dead at hospital after failed attempts to resuscitate her.
At an inquest in The Guildhall, Sandwich, Cynthia Robinson, a friend of the girl's mother who had been entrusted to look after Dajahnel, was quizzed about the account she gave about the six-year-old's whereabouts prior to her going missing.
Mrs Robinson said that Dajahnel, who could not swim, was with her husband, Roy, at the shore of the sea "splashing around" with other children, before needing to go to the toilet.
Mrs Robinson, who was looking after four other children at the time, said: "She said she wanted to wee, but by the time (she walked back to me) it looked like she waited until she was bursting - so she (wet) herself."
Representing Dajahnel's family, Laura Profumo said a child had recalled Mrs Robinson telling the six-year-old to go "down to the sea to wash her hands".
Mrs Robinson said she did not say this.
She told the inquest that she said to Dajahnel that when the trip was finished, she would change her.
Ms Profumo suggested Mrs Robinson had decided not to change her at that point because she "had her hands full with four other children under 12".
Denying this, Mrs Robinson said the trip was about to end.
She added that she felt there was an appropriate ratio of children to adults.
After that interaction, Mrs Robinson said she went into her tent to find her phone so she could take a video of the trip.
But after coming out of the tent with the phone while filming, Mrs Robinson said she noticed Dajahnel was not there.
She said she cut the video "prematurely" and went to look for Dajahnel.
The four-minute video appeared to show Mrs Robinson filming each child while walking towards her husband by the sea.
You may also want to watch:
When queried about the video, Mrs Robinson was asked why she did not stop filming immediately to look for Dajahnel.
Mrs Robinson said she was looking for Dajahnel while she was filming, which is why she filmed each child before she got to Mr Robinson.
She was also asked why she thought Dajahnel would be with Mr Robinson, despite seeing the youngster "moments" before going to look for her phone.
Mrs Robinson said she thought the girl had gone off with the other children.
Ms Profumo said: "It's not the case that Dajahnel simply disappeared within moments, she had been missing quite some time before that but you simply didn't notice."
Further into the video, Mrs Robinson appeared to ask children if they were hungry.
Ms Profumo added: "What this video shows is a complete lack of concern that a little girl in your care who cannot swim has suddenly disappeared."
Responding, Mrs Robinson said: "That is not true. I started the search. Whatever I said, I'm still searching for her."
Matthew Holdcroft, representing the police, asked why she walked away from the tent, when four children under 12 were left there.
"Where was the adult supervision for those children?" he said.
Mrs Robinson said: "They were not far from me. I could see them. Those children listen to me. (Dajahnel) was more important to me at the time."
Mrs Robinson went to a lifeguard to ask for help.
She said: "He took me towards the funfair, further away from where my tent was.
"I wanted him to use the (loud speaker), but he said if they call, anyone can see her and snatch her away."
After walking "for a while", Mrs Robinson said the lifeguard told her there was "a situation" and took her back to the lifeguard stand.
At the stand, police were there waiting for her.
The inquest continues.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Bexley Times. Click the link in the orange box below for details.