Thursday 6 October 2022 11:25 AM Parents of British girl, 12, who drowned during French school trip left ... trends now
The family of Jessica Lawson, the 12-year-old girl who died while on a school trip to France, have been left 'devastated' after a French court cleared teachers of manslaughter by gross negligence, their lawyer has said.
Jessica, a student at Wolfreton School, Willerby, died while swimming in a lake near the city of Limoges in July 2015.
Prosecutors had called for Steven Layne, Chantelle Lewis and Daisy Stathers - the trio of teachers accused of the crime in relation to Jessica's death - to be jailed for three years. On Wednesday, they were cleared of wrongdoing.
Her parents Tony and Brenda Lawson had hoped the trial of the three East Yorkshire teachers would bring answers to the question that had been haunting them for seven years: how and why did their daughter die.
But the Hull solicitor representing them said they were left disappointed with the outcome. Now, the family is considering a 'civil appeal'.
'The family are absolutely devastated,' said Stephen Orridge, of Pepperells Solicitors in Hull. 'They were hoping to get a number of answers from the last two days and in reality, I don't think they've got those answers.'
Speaking to BBC Radio Humberside, Mr Orridge added: 'It was an unexpected outcome, in my personal opinion. We will continue working with the Lawsons to get them some sort of answers and justice.'
Jessica's devastated parents were seen in floods of tears on steps outside the court after the verdict was delivered on Wednesday. Tony, overcome with grief, had immediately walked out of the courtroom as the teachers were acquitted.
Another photograph showed Steven Layne and Chantelle Lewis overcome with emotion after the ruling at the Palais du Justice.
Tony and Brenda Lawson - the parents of 12-year-old British girl Jessica Lawson, who drowned on a school trip in France in 2015 - were left in floods of tears yesterday after three British teachers accused of manslaughter were cleared of wrongdoing. Pictured: Tony is comforted by family outside the Palais de Justice in Tulle
Brenda and Tony Lawson pictured with their daughter Jessica before her tragic death in Limoges, France
Teachers (left to right) Daisy Stathers, Chantelle Lewis and Steven Layne sit in the Palais de Justice yesterday before the verdict was announced
The family did not give any immediate reaction to the verdicts outside the court themselves, but writing on the Jessica Lawson Foundation Facebook page on Thursday, Mrs Lawson said: 'No win, no lose, no draw. Enough is enough.
'We, as a family stand proud & remain united. A closeness borne from our tragedy. A closeness that continues to gain its strength from our guiding light.
'Her name is and continues to be Jessica Lawson.'
Mrs Lawson continued: 'Over the past two days the world media has 'said her name'.
'And, that for our family is ok. Unconditional love is a powerful thing. Immeasurable.
'I am Brenda Lawson, I am Jessica's mum. She is my baby girl. No court in any land can take that away from me... ever.'
Minutes from tragedy: The schoolchildren are seen playing on the pontoon in a lake near Limoges in July 2015 shortly before it capsized. Jessica became trapped in the water and drowned after teachers and a lifeguard failed to spot her
Teachers Steven Layne (left) and Chantelle Lewis (centre) are pictured leaving Palais de Justice, Tulle, central France, after they where found not guilty yesterday
Jessica Lawson (pictured), 12, died when a pontoon capsized in a lake near Limoges in July 2015
Addressing the court, Brenda said: 'If I'm truthful, listening to people trying to explain here what they did for Jessica, it is not really any clearer because I was expecting those who had a duty of care for her to be open and transparent and to have respect and integrity for her mum in the way they have handled themselves here.'
She added: 'It has been seven years for me and my family of what can only be described as torturous suffering of not understanding what happened to