A 12-year-old schoolgirl who couldn't swim drowned in a river after a friend joked she “was going to kill her if she didn’t get in the water”, an inquest heard.
Shukri Yahye-Abdi, 12, was pulled from the River Irwell near Bury town centre in Greater Manchester, after failing to return home from school during a heatwave on the night of June 27 last year.
She went into the water with two other girls, referred to as Child 1 and Child 2 for legal reasons.
Child 1’s guardian told the Heywood inquest she was approached by Shukri’s friend, who told her: “There is something I need to tell you.”
Giving evidence, the guardian said: “She said when they were walking towards the river she said to Shukri ‘if you don’t get in the water I’m going to kill you’ in a laughing and joking manner'.
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“She said she wasn’t sure Shukri was going to get in the water. She wanted someone else to come in the water with her."
Child 1 felt she had done something “really bad”, and the guardian then reported it to police, the Manchester Evening News reports.
She added: “She knew it wasn’t the right comment to make with the way things turned out, but she wanted people to know it wasn’t meant in the way she said it.
“She told me she would show Shukri how to swim, she said something along the lines of 'I told her I would save her if she couldn’t swim'."
“She said she got in the water and saw Shukri walking into the water. She doesn’t recall exactly what happened after that.
“She said she wanted everything out. She wanted all the truth out because she didn't want to be blamed for something.”
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The guardian said the three girls had earlier been in her house, where she’d given them dinner and they’d played in Child 1's bedroom “laughing and giggling like typical teenage girls”.
Shukri’s mum Zamzam Ture told the inquest she called the police after frantically searching for her in a nearby park and at a relative’s house after she failed to come home from school.
She also said that Shukri, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp to Somalian parents before moving to the UK in January 2017, couldn’t swim and was “scared” of water.
Friends William Keenan and Steven Duckworth were fishing on the river about 400-500 yards away when two children ran along the path – saying Shukri had fallen in.
The pair ran to the spot where the children had been playing, close to a fast-running dam.
They waded into the river and dived under the water in an attempt to rescue her.
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Senior coroner Joanne Kearsley praised Mr Keenan and Mr Duckworth for their bravery.
The inquest also heard that around 3.45pm that day, Shukri, Child 1 and Child 2, were caught shoplifting at Primark in Bury town centre.
Security supervisor Daniel Addison said Child 1 was seen putting a pair of pyjamas into her handbag on the first floor.
But after seeing Mr Addison approaching, Child 1 admitted what she had done and apologised.
Mr Addison said the girls were taken into a room on the third floor, where they were given a warning and escorted from the shop.
Lisa Parker, a maths teacher at Broad Oak Sports College, which has since been renamed Hazel Wood High School, told the inquest Shukri, of Wash Lane, Bury, was a “happy, chatty” pupil who was also “a bit cheeky”.
She added: “She liked to push the boundaries a little bit but she was always a joy to have in class. There was no malice in her.”
The inquest continues and is expected to last five days.
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