A 12-year-old who drowned in the River Irwell was told she would be killed unless she went into the water, an inquest heard.

Shukri Yahye-Abde’s body was pulled from the River Irwell near Dunster Street, in Bury, shortly before midnight on Thursday, June 27, 2019 – five weeks before her 13th birthday.

Her mother, Zamzam Arab Ture, she had never gone to a river before and had never been swimming.

An inquest at Heywood heard, in the hours before her death, Shukri was with a group of children at the river.

The children cannot be identified for legal reasons and are referred to as Child One, Child Two, Child Three and Child Four.

One of the girls, Child One, is alleged to have told Shukri, a Somali refugee: “If you don’t get into the water, I’m going to kill you.”

But the foster carer of Child One said: “She was trying to re-live it but because she was so traumatised, she could not get it all out properly.

"She told me she had said to Shukri as they were walking towards the river, 'If you do not get into the water, I’m going to kill you', in a laughing, joking manner.

"She said no-one wanted to get into the water. She said that after coming all this way, she wanted Shukri to get in the water. She said, 'Shukri said she could not swim but I told her that I would save her'.

The foster carer reported the evidence to the police and to social services.

Bury Times:

Two fishermen, William Keenan and his friend Steven Duckworth, were alerted to the emergency by children who they described as “hysterical” and “panic-stricken.”

Mr Keenan told the inquest: “We were about 400 yards away from the weir. There was a boy and a girl. My friend asked them what was up.

"One shouted, 'My friend is drowning in the river'. We were all on our feet and set off running towards the waterfall. The kids ran off in the direction of the police station.

“There was a girl stood on the weir wall. I asked her where her friend had gone in. She pointed off the wall. It is a 15-foot drop.

“I started to get undressed to go in the water. The girl said she had been in there for nearly 10 minutes and I nearly got dressed again. I didn’t know what they had been doing for all that time. The girl said she had held onto her hand for as long as she could, for about five minutes.

“We went in at the shallow end. Within a few steps it can go from one foot deep to over my head. I was diving down into the pool underneath the weir, and coming up for air.”

Mr Keenan added: “It is a popular part of the river to go swimming. It was a very hot day.”

Mr Duckworth said: "I was not thinking of myself or anything else, I was just thinking about the child in the water. A child would not have had a chance. The water starts off really shallow but next to the weir it is so deep."

Bury Times:

The two men have been praised for their efforts to try and save Shukri.

Joanne Kearsley, Manchester North senior coroner, said: “Thank-you to the both of you for the attempts that both of you have made to save Shukri’s life.

“It is recognised that you did everything that you could in a very difficult situation to try and save her.”

The emergency services, including ambulances, river rescue teams, the fire brigade and police arrived at the scene at about 8pm.

Two of the girls had called 999 and informed North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) of the incident, the court heard.

The ambulance service sent rapid response vehicles, ambulances and a hazardous area response team (HART) to the scene, who used boats to try and locate Shukri.

Advanced paramedic Jonathan Scrivens said: “When someone is drowned and submerged in water, we have up to 60 minutes where we would consider resuscitation as a viable option.

"After that, resuscitation becomes futile. In extreme conditions, in icy water, we would extend that to 90 minutes.

“There seemed to be a lot of confusion over where the girl had gone into the water. After 90 minutes, Shukri had not been found. The decision was taken to stand NWAS down.”

Ambulance crews and paramedics left the scene shortly before 10pm.

Shukri, a pupil at Broad Oak Sports College, now Hazel Wood High School, had not returned to her home after school as expected that night.

Her mother said Shukri had been due home at 3.15pm that day – ahead of visiting the mosque between 5pm and 7pm, as was customary. But she never returned.

She said Shukri knew she would have been told off by her mother as well as by teachers at the mosque, for not attending.

Ms Ture said Shukri would have been looking forward to going to the mosque because they hand out sweets on Thursdays.

When she did not return home, Ms Ture went to the school but found the reception was closed, the inquest was told.

She then went to a friend’s home, then searched a nearby park, then headed to her uncle’s home, calling on other families to help.

Ms Ture, giving evidence via an interpreter, said: “My friend had seen Shukri. She asked her to go with her but she said 'No, my mum is waiting for me', then she ran away. There were two girls following her.”

The friend told Ms Ture she had seen Shukri walking in the direction of her Wash Lane home.

The inquest later heard that Shukri had been with two other girls, Child One and Child Two, after school. They ate dinner, got changed out of their school uniforms, and then went to Primark in Bury.

The three girls were suspected of shoplifting and given a warning before being escorted from the shop by a security guard.

Ms Ture said: “Shukri was not friends with Child One or Two.”

Shukri’s teachers described her as a “healthy and happy child” who was “helpful to her mother and to the school”, the inquest heard.

Ms Ture previously described Shukri as a “quiet girl” who was “so happy and so focussed on her future.”

Shukri was the eldest of Ms Ture’s five children, the family having moved to Bury in January 2017 from a refugee camp in Kenya.

Originally from Somalia, Ms Ture had fled to the camp due to violence in her homeland. The family was brought to the UK as part of the vulnerable persons resettlement scheme.

The inquest continues.