Bradford boy Harry Sykes' organs lost after his death on rugby tour in France

Harry Sykes went missing while swimming near Carcassonne.

Organs belonging to a young rugby player who died while on tour in France were lost by the French authorities, an inquest heard.

Harry Sykes, 16, from Bradford, was on tour with Halifax Elite Rugby Academy when he drowned in the Lac de la Cavayère, near the medieval town of Carcassonne, on 5 September 2018.

Bradford Coroner's Court has heard that questions remain about Harry's death as no-one saw what happened in the moments before he drowned.To compound his family's grief, the inquest was told his heart and one of his lungs were lost after a post-mortem examination 

The court heard there were three possible explanations for what happened to Harry – that he was either hit by something, lost consciousness, or suffered a fatal reaction to the cold water.

The lake where Harry Sykes died.

Det Insp Tom Levitt, of West Yorkshire Police, carried out an investigation.

He said there were more than 35 students, aged mainly from 16 to 18, who went to the lake on the day Harry died.The inquest heard that although it was a hot day the water was "freezing" and very murky.One of the boys reported later that he had felt something "squishy" under the water and it appeared that this was Tom's body.Det Insp Levitt told the inquest: "One student has said they felt something. 

"They put their hands under the water but it was murky and they couldn't see anything and didn't investigate it further to be fair. 

"They didn't make [the tour organisers] Lee and Gareth Greenwood aware. 

"They thought it was a possible jellyfish. There was a conversation between various students who brushed it off as a bit of a laugh, unfortunately."Det Insp Levitt said it was only when a head-count took place at the hotel at 7pm that it was realised Harry was missing and eventually at 9pm the French police were contacted. 

The tour organisers were arrested and interviewed on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence, but the Crown Prosecution Service concluded there was insufficient evidence to pursue the matter.Richard Copnall, representing Harry's mother, Natasha Burton, and his stepfather, Daniel Burton, asked the detective whether he thought the bar had been reached for a criminal prosecution. 

Det Insp Levitt replied: "I definitely thought there was a case to answer."The inquest heard a tragedy had been narrowly averted on a previous tour in 2017 when a child got into difficulties and Lee Greenwood had to rescue him because he was struggling.The inquest continues and is expected to last several more days.