Teenager’s death remains a mystery

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The circumstances surrounding the death of Mansfield teenager Ciaran Sweeney remain a mystery after a Nottingham inquest into the tragedy gave an open conclusion.

Nottingham coroner Mairin Casey told the inquest the events preceding the discovery of 14-year-old Ciaran’s body at a Mansfield quarry in October last year were like a jigsaw with significant parts missing.

Ciaran went missing from his home on the Oak Tree Estate on 14th September following an argument with his mother.

Det Insp Richard Monk told the inquest she had phoned them that morning at about 10.30am to report that Ciaran had stolen a mobile phone.

Some minutes later he was seen running from his home toward the Heathers nature reserve. This was the last time Ciaran was seen alive.

Det Insp Monk said on 1st October at 10.05am Ciaran’s body was found in a lagoon at Ratcher Hill Quarry, off Southwell Road West and it was evident it had been there for some time.

But he confirmed there were no signs of a struggle at the scene to suggest third party involvement.

“The quarry usually inspects the pumps daily - but at no point did the staff see Ciaran,” said Det Insp Monk.

“The facts would be consistent with Ciaran entering the water within in a short period of running away from home on the 14th.”

Ciaran was found in a lagoon which was used in the quarry’s segmentation process, with a large drop on one side nearest to a fence.

“We did an examination of the vertical wall at the side and there were marks on the wall,” said Det Insp Monk. “But it is difficult to make any assumptions on that.”

Evidence read out by Ms Carey from a pathologist’s post-mortem report showed a lack of ‘internal or external injuries suggested it was not a significant fall but one much closer to the water level.’

But Det Insp Monk later added: “The point of entry that was most natural would be consistent with the raised area of the quarry.”

Det Insp Monk concluded his evidence by saying it was probable Ciaran entered the water from a height but there were no injuries.

As Ms Carey concluded Ciaran died by drowning she added: “He was an unassuming young man with an excellent record of school attendance.

“Always punctual and smartly dressed. He was passionate about rugby and played for the academy team.”