A CORONER is considering his conclusion after hearing legal submissions in the inquest of a Bradford teenager who drowned while on a rugby trip to France.

Harry Sykes was on a college trip with the Halifax Elite Rugby Academy (HERA) when he died on September 5, 2018.

The body of the 16-year-old former Queensbury ARLFC player, from Clayton Heights, was recovered by divers from a lake near Carcassonne in southern France.

Legal representatives involved in the inquest all made their submissions to West Yorkshire Senior Coroner Martin Fleming at today’s session of the hearing.

Mr Fleming invited each of the legal representatives to give their views on whether the inquest’s conclusion should be unlawful killing or a narrative option.

He is scheduled to give his conclusion at Bradford Coroner’s Court tomorrow, but indicated he may need some more time for his deliberations.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Harry Sykes playing rugby league in the Bradford districtHarry Sykes playing rugby league in the Bradford district

Philip Simms, Mr Fleming’s legal representative in the inquest, said Harry was known to be a capable swimmer. He said: “He was in the designated swimming area. We also know there were 60 to 80 other people at the beach at the time. From what we heard, no-one saw anyone in any distress in the water.”

Richard Copnall, representing Harry’s family, rejected the idea that there was no risk attached to open water swimming.

Mr Copnall said: “Open water swimming is a hostile environment for human beings.

“The suggestion the risk of drowning is minimal and remote is simply, wholly untenable.”

Mark Bradley, representing Lee and Gareth Greenwood who set up HERA, said a narrative conclusion would be appropriate in this case.

Nathan Buckley, representing the Rugby Football League (RFL), also invited Mr Fleming to reach a narrative conclusion and there was ‘no legal basis whatsoever’ for an unlawful killing conclusion.

Lisa Judge, representing Loughborough College, told the court the college had no responsibility or powers in relation to the trip to France. Harry had been due to attend Loughborough College, and had been receiving support from the college prior to the trip.

Mr Fleming said: “There is a lot to be considered here.”

The inquest has previously heard that the team got back to their hotel at around 6pm, adding it was “only then, following a head count, they realised Harry was missing”.

The inquest heard the French authorities were contacted and divers were later dispatched, recovering Harry’s body from the lake that evening on September 5.

He was declared dead at 10.45pm.

Harry's mother Natasha Burton told the inquest Harry had also had private swimming lessons as a child and described his swimming ability as “excellent”.