A SCHOOLGIRL looked on and laughed as Shukri Yahye-Abde drowned in the River Irwell, an inquest into the 12-year-old's death heard.

A hearing at Manchester Town Hall was told the girl ­— known as Child One for legal reasons ­— had been playing in the waterway with Shukri on June 27 last year.

But after swimming away from Shukri, who is said to have been unable to swim, the 12-year-old began to get into difficulties and eventually disappeared under the water.

Another youngster, Child four, who was with them at the riverside, dived into the water in a bid to rescue Shukri but was unable to find her.

Coroner Joanne Kearsley praised the boy's actions, saying he was "exceptionally brave".

Earlier in the inquest, the court heard Shukri had gone down to the river after school with Child One and three others ­— known as Childs Two, Three and Four.

Appearing via video-link, Child Four said that he and his friend, child three, had gone into Bury that afternoon and visited the cinema, an arcade and The Rock before "coincidentally" meeting up with Shukri and Childs One and Two.

He added that he had known child one for around a month and had previously attended primary school with Child Two, but noted he had not met Shukri before.

The boys were then invited to join the girls in a trip to the river.

All five of the children headed from Bury town centre towards the Irwell during which time no one said anything threatening to Shukri and they were all "nice to each other" and "all talking together", Child Four said.

On the way, Child Four recalled that Shukri said she was "alright at swimming".

He added that he was not aware of any plans to scare Shukri or get her 'into trouble in the water' and when questioned said he did not hear an alleged conversation between child one and child two about "what they would say afterwards".

Once at the river Shukri and Child One went into the water, while Child Two paddled and the two boys remained on the bank, as Child Three couldn't swim and Child Four thought the water looked dirty.

In the water Child One and Shukri began doing backstroke with their feet on the riverbed, although Shukri had her arm around the other girl, relying on Child One to support her, Child Four said.

However after some time the girl let go of Shukri and swam to some nearby rocks.

Shukri then got into difficulties, but 'no one did anything to stop her going under the water', Child Four said.

"[Child one] was on the rocks and she was laughing," the boy added. "I think that she thought Shukri was joking."

After trying to cry for help Shukri disappeared under the water and did not resurface.

Realising that something was wrong, Child Four took off his top and shoes and jumped into the water to try and rescue Shukri while Child Three went to fetch a stick.

After a couple of minutes the boy had been unable to find her in the murky water and so ran off to Bury Police Station to get help.

There he jumped over a barrier before alerting officers who hurried to the scene to join rescue operations alongside other emergency services.

Addressing Child Four at the end of his evidence, Coroner Joanne Kearsley said: "This has been a very difficult time for you. But there can be no doubt from the evidence you have given that you were exceptionally brave.

"You did everything you could to jump in and try and save Shukri. Not only did you do that but you ran to the police station, jumping a barrier."

The inquest continues.