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James Corfield: ‘Urgent safety issues starting to be fixed’

By Jonny Drury | Welshpool | News | Published: | Last Updated:

The family of teenager James Corfield who died at the Royal Welsh Show are working with the authorities to improve safety measures at the event.

Mr Corfield, 19, from Montgomery, left the White Horse pub in Builth Wells around midnight on July 24, and was found in a pool in the River Wye five days later after an extensive search.

The inquest into his death at Welshpool Magistrates Court on Friday was told how it was believed he walked along a footpath near the river and entered the water.

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However, coroner Andrew Barkley could not say how the talented farmer and Montgomery cricketer met his death.

A celebration and memorial event held at Montgomery Cricket Club for the life of James Corfield

A statement from the Corfield family said: “We are currently working very hard alongside the four major players in Builth Wells, to make the whole Royal Welsh event safer, for the young people of Wales.

“There are important and urgent safety issues that have been identified and are currently starting to be addressed.”

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“We will be working hard to ensure these improvements will be in place before July to make sure that things will be a lot safer this year.”

Police search advisor, Inspector Andrew Pitt, said Louise Corfield reported her son missing at 2pm on July 24.

The search for James

Originally the case was ‘low risk’, however after discovering no friends knew of Mr Corfield’s whereabouts, the case was upgraded to ‘high risk’ at 8pm that evening.

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Searches involving hundreds of volunteers and specialists teams were staged before Mr Corfield’s body was spotted by a diver at around midday on July 30.

Mr Pitt said third party involvement in the death was considered after information was passed to the police, but he added: “There is no information of James being involved in a specific incident with any other third party.”

He added that the teenager could have been trying to cross the river to reach the ‘young persons’ village at the show where he was staying.

Duty Sergeant on the day Mr Corfield went missing, Sergeant Weetman told the court that CCTV evidence showed the last sighting of the teenager was at 11.56pm when he crossed The Gro car park.

The footage, shown in court, showed Mr Corfield, who was staying overnight at the show for the first time, walking with three men, before he walked off in the direction of a footpath next to the river.

James Corfield

A number of statements from witnesses who had seen Mr Corfield on the evening of July 24 described him as drunk, with one person saying he was “drunk but in control”.

Home Office pathologist, Dr Richard Jones, who carried out the post mortem said there was 150 milligrams per decilitre of blood in his system, which amounted to just over double the drink drive limit.

He said there was no evidence of foul play or physical injury and he ruled out concerns the death was due to an inherited heart defect.

He said there was no evidence that Mr Corfield drowned, before adding he could not give a medical cause of death.

The family were concerned about CCTV footage from the Gro car park, and believed one man gestured towards the direction that Mr Corfield then walked in, and his mother believes her son was given incorrect directions.

She said: “It showed one of the men directing his arm where James went, and people in the area do say that people send young farmers the wrong way. You have to understand that James would not have gone into the water voluntarily.”

Mr Barkley passed on his condolences to the family during what he described as an horrific time. He summed up the evidence and said he was satisfied Mr Corfield died in the water and not on the land, before returning a conclusion of accidental death.

A family statement paid tribute to James: “James was a fantastic son, and brilliant brother, a gifted sportsman and a passionate farmer, and our family is missing him so very much, James really was a wonderful, perfect person. We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has helped and supported us through this nightmare.

"This kindness and love that has been shown to us is absolutely amazing and has helped to survive these dark desperate days.”

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.

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