Girl’s family ‘proud and united’ after teachers’ verdict not guilty

Jessica Lawson’s mother said her family is “proud and united” after a French court convicted three teachers of gross negligence murder.

Paying tribute to her daughter on Facebook, Brenda Lawson said the 12-year-old was “my niece”, adding, “No court in any country will ever get her.”

Jessica died in July 2015 after a pontoon drowned in a lake near the city of Limoges during a school trip.

On Wednesday at the Palais de Justice in the French city of Tulle, Steven Layne, Chantel Lewis and Daisy Stathers were exonerated of all charges.

The lifeguard on duty at the time, Léo Lemaire, and the local authority of the city of Liginiac were also found not guilty.

The family did not react immediately to the decision, but on Thursday, writing on the Jessica Lawson Foundation’s Facebook page, Ms. Lawson said, “No win, no loss, no draw. Enough is too much.

“We, as a family, are proud and stick together.

“A closeness that is the fruit of our tragedy. A closeness that continues to draw its strength from our flagship.

“Her name is Jessica Lawson and she keeps it up.”

Ms. Lawson continued: “The global media” has said her name “for the past two days.

“And it’s good for our family.

“Unconditional love is a powerful thing. Immense.

“I’m Brenda Lawson, I’m Jessica’s mom. She is my little girl.

“No court in any country can ever take him away from me …”

In her decision, Marie-Sophie Vaguet, head of Tulle jurisdiction, indicated that the three teachers “have not failed in their obligation to monitor activity at all times”.

Ms. Vaguet told the court that “there was no evidence to prove they were negligent.”

The trial heard how Ms. Lewis “got nervous” during the incident and “asked ‘Where is Jess’?”

Her colleague, Ms. Stathers, said she too became “more and more terrified” after realizing Jessica was missing, adding, “But there were 23 other students we were trying to get out of the water), so I was trying to stay calm.

Mr. Layne, the teacher in charge of the yatra, told the court he thought the pontoon was a safety feature.

Mr. Layne was asked about Jessica’s death and said there was “no distress” from students or rescuers during the incident.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *