Police officer describes retrieving little girl’s body from submerged car

A police officer broke down in court as she described pulling a two-year-old girl’s body from a car after it had plunged into a river.

Kiara Moore died after being recovered from her parents’ silver Mini in the River Teifi in Cardigan on March 19, days before her third birthday.

An inquest into her death heard police officers waded into the freezing River Teifi in an attempt to save the little girl after they spotted the submerged vehicle.

PCSO Carol Griffiths told the inquest on Tuesday at Aberystwyth Justice Centre she had originally been told a car had been stolen with a “three-year-old girl inside” before she was alerted to a car submerged in the river.

She said: “I looked to the water and could see the exterior of a car poking above the surface.

“I took off my stab vest, utility belt and boots.”

The officer then paused giving her evidence as she began to cry, needing to compose herself before continuing.

She said: “The river was freezing cold and I could tell the current was very strong.

“I put my head under the water and it was really dirty. The car was fully immersed with water.

“The passenger window was open slightly, about 10cm.”

PCSO Griffiths said she and another officer used a baton to smash one of the car’s windows open, which led to Kiara’s body floating out.

She said: “I then felt Kiara’s body. She floated out of the vehicle into my arms.

“She was wearing a pink jacket which matched the clothing described by her mother.

“As we reached the river bank I took hold over her and lowered her onto the floor, putting her gently on the ground.

“Officers began CPR on her.

“All I remember is standing there looking at her body on the ground.

“Her head was rolling all around the place and her face was purple.”

The inquest heard mother Kim Rowlands initially feared the car had been stolen with Kiara inside after she returned to find it missing.

Detective Constable Hannah Garney said CCTV footage showed Miss Rowlands had left Kiara inside the vehicle for two minutes and one second while she went inside her office in an old scouts hall to retrieve cash to go food shopping.

Dyfed-Powys Police have previously said there would be no charges in relation to the “tragic incident”.

Coroner Peter Brunton told the inquest he proposed to record the cause of death as immersion as opposed to drowning, as “Kiara had no control over what happened”.

The inquest continues.