A SCHOOLGIRL has said she “knew it was going to happen” after she watched as Shukri Yayhe-Abde slipped from her grasp and into the River Irwell where she drowned.

The 12-year-old’s body was pulled from the waterway, near Dunster Street in Bury, shortly before midnight on June 27, 2019 – five weeks before her 13th birthday.

An inquest into her death at Heywood heard Shukri had been playing with the girl – known as Child One for legal reasons – together with three others referred to as Childs Two, Three and Four, at the riverside, on the evening of her death.

Today the court heard of the final tragic hours of Shukri’s life as well as the ultimately unsuccessful efforts of emergency services to rescue her.

Home office pathologist Prof Phillip Lumb, also confirmed Shukri’s cause of death to have been drowning.

Child One is alleged to have pushed Shukri around her school’s changing room in what was described as a “nasty” incident, the court heard.

In a police interview, Child Five recalled that Shukri had been getting changed, ready for sports practice ahead of an athletics competition, when Child One and Child Two entered.

“Before the girls came in we were laughing and joking,” Child Five said.

“They came in and said ‘I have been looking everywhere for you,’ and [Child Two] said ‘I was going to go to your house.’ She was raising her voice and looking at Shukri a bit horrible.

“Shukri didn’t say anything. She looked scared. She just didn’t know what to say and she was blank.”

Child Five added: “Then [Child One] said ‘You knew we were going out,’ then she started pulling her by getting hold of her shoulders and pulling her about.”

This incident was said to last around five minutes before Child One and Child Two left – after which the girls in the changing room remarked that it had been “nasty”.

Later that evening, Child Two recalled in further footage of a police interview shown to the court, that she and Shukri had gone to Child One’s house.

The three of them then headed into Bury by bus and visited the Mill Gate Shopping Centre.

It was there that they accidentally met up with Child Three and Child Four, whom they knew from around schoo,l and who had been to the cinema at The Rock.

The five of them then walked to the River Irwell, to a spot Child Two said she had been to before.

Once at the riverside, close to a weir, the girls got changed and went into the water while the boys ate crisps on the bank.

Child Two said: “[Child One] went first, then Shukri, then me. They went out a bit nearer to the waterfall, but I just tried to stay on the big rocks.

“It was very hard but I went and sat on the rock and [Child One] and Shukri were just playing and the boys were just standing eating crisps.”

Leaving Shukri and Child One to play, Child Two went to change her top, recalling: “When I came back after two or three minutes [Child One] let go of Shukri’s hand. The water was too deep and running.

“She thought Shukri could swim but she couldn’t. Shukri went down, then came back up, then went back down again – that was the last time we saw her.

“She was waving her arms and said help and we kept calling her name.”

Speaking to police the following day, in bodycam footage shown to the court, Child One added: “She slipped out of my hand. I knew it was going to happen.

“She was holding on to my hand… then she let go. I tried to jump in to save her but it was too deep.”

Child Four also tried to rescue Shukri, the court heard, before running to fetch the police.

Yesterday the court heard that Child One and Child Two made a 999 call and paramedics were sent to the scene. They were quickly joined by the fire service and police.

Two men fishing along the river had also unsuccessfully tried to pull Shukri from the water after being alerted by the “hysterical” and “panic stricken” children.

Peter Gray, a watch manager at Bury fire station, told the court that they had been called to the incident shortly before 8pm.

Once at the scene, Mr Gray and two other firefighters, wearing buoyancy aids and using ropes, began to search the area of the river where Shukri had last been seen alive.

Mr Gray told the court that the court that the girls said Shukri had been walking along stones in the river when she disappeared under the water.

He said that within a few metres the water level could change in depth from being ankle deep to above head height.

The firefighters were soon joined by specialist crews from Heywood with boats, and a technical response unit with a fixed buoyancy sled.

While their search was ongoing, Child Four had gone to get help from nearby Bury Police Station.

After climbing over the barrier and into the compound Child Four, who was wearing no top and was wet, came across an officer, PC Corlett, exercising in the station’s gym before his shift.

PC Corlett alerted his colleagues and two officers – PCs Dolan and Howard – took the boy in police car back to the riverside to help with the search.

Despite their continuing efforts, however, the emergency services were unable to find Shukri, the court heard.

Into the night a police specialist underwater search and rescue team was brought in, led by PC Anthony Darbyshire.

After his first diver had become exhausted by the search, PC Darbyshire told that court that he took over the search as was able to find Shukri’s body in an area of water near to the weir.

He said he then took her body to the bank where a stretcher was already prepared.

The inquest continues.