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    • Thomas Branchflower, aged seventeen months, found ‘unresponsive’ in trough 
    • His mother, Tanya, said: ‘He was very much loved and adored by us, his parents’
    • Inquest is now underway, with preliminary cause of death given as drowning 

    A baby boy drowned in a rainwater trough in a back garden while in foster care, his family said today. 

    Thomas Branchflower, aged seventeen months, was found ‘unresponsive’ in the garden of the home in Williton, Somerset and died five days later in hospital. 

    An inquest has been opened, which recorded a preliminary cause of death as brain injury caused by drowning. 

    Thomas Branchflower, aged seventeen months, was found ‘unresponsive’ in the garden of the home in Williton, Somerset and died five days later in hospital

    Speaking today, his mother Tanya Branchflower said: ‘Thomas was in foster care. He was found unresponsive in a metal rainwater trough and was on life support.

    ‘He was very much loved and adored by us his parents.’

    Mrs Branchflower said she and Thomas’ father are living in Canada but came back to England to be at their son’s bedside.

    It is not yet clear why Thomas was in foster care or why his family had moved to Canada. 

    Somerset coroner Tony Williams confirmed that Thomas died on August 1 and that an inquest had been opened on the same date.

    Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, where Thomas died five days after he was pulled from the trough

    Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, where Thomas died five days after he was pulled from the trough 

    He has recorded a preliminary cause of death as ‘hypoxic ischaemic brain injury secondary to drowning’.

    He added: ‘I can confirm that on July 27, 2020, Thomas had been found unresponsive in a water trough in Williton.

    ‘Investigations are ongoing with regard to the circumstances of Thomas’s death and a full inquest hearing will be required in due course.’

    Somerset County Council, which is responsible for children’s services, said it was unable to comment in detail until the inquest had concluded.

    A spokesman said: ‘This is clearly a very tragic situation and we have offered our support to all those affected.’

    The inquest continues.  

    This is a general photo of Williton in Somerset, where the toddler drowned. This picture does not show the home where he died

    This is a general photo of Williton in Somerset, where the toddler drowned. This picture does not show the home where he died 

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