Babbs Mill Park: Families of three young cousins killed in Solihull lake tragedy pay tribute

Brothers Finlay and Samuel Butler, and their cousin Thomas Stewart. Credit: PA/West Midlands Police

The families of three young cousins who died after falling in a frozen lake in Solihull have paid tribute to their "beautiful boys".

Brothers Finlay and Samuel Butler and their cousin Thomas Stewart were pulled from the freezing water and rushed to hospital on Sunday.

Finlay, aged eight, and Thomas, who is 11, died a short time later.

Jack Johnson, who's 10 years old, also tragically died on Sunday after reportedly wading in to the icy water to try and save the boys. 

Six-year-old Samuel lost his fight for life yesterday (14 December).

The cousins' parents said: "As a family we are devastated at the loss of our beautiful boys Tom, Fin and Sam in such tragic circumstances.

"We would like to thank the emergency services for all they did in rescuing the boys and to the community for their support, it has been overwhelming. 

"We would like to pass on our condolences to Jack’s family at this very sad time, and ask for privacy from the media to begin to grieve."

Thomas' older brother paid tribute to him and his cousin ahead of the sad news that Sam had died.

He wrote: "Thomas was such a lively little soul, he had a big heart for such a young kid and he was so beautiful.

"He loved being outside playing with his mates. I love you Tom, big bro will take care of the family and I will see you soon.

"Make sure you keep practising on warzone and get a win, will you?'

"Can’t forget about my dinosaur man Fin, he loved dinosaurs so much and always showing me new things he built on Minecraft and all the new stuff he learnt on it. Gonna miss you little man."

Flowers and tributes near to Babbs Mill Park Credit: Jacob King/PA

In a post on social media, Jack Johnson's aunt, Charlotte McIlmurray, described the tragedy as a "nightmare", adding that "two families can’t wake from the unimaginable pain”.

"He (Jack) was my nephew, so I know the pain is a million times worse for their moms, dads, sisters/brothers," she added.

West Midlands Police said extensive underwater searches were carried out in the lake and have now concluded.

Superintendent Richard Harris said: "This is a tragedy beyond words and a grief that is unimaginable for the families and friends of the boys.

"The support from the community has been overwhelming, not just for the bereaved families, but also for the emergency services, for which we are extremely grateful.

"Our officers will remain in the area in the coming days. Please come and speak to us if you need to."

What happened at Babbs Mill Park?

Emergency services were first called to Babbs Mill Park at 2.34pm on Sunday.

It was reported four children had been playing on the ice and fallen through into the lake.

Members of the public and police officers initially went into the chilly waters to try to rescue the youngsters - before the children were reached by specialist water rescue-trained firefighters who got the group to safety.

Those pulled from the water were given immediate life support by ambulance crews and the fire service.

Nobody else was reported missing, according to West Midlands Police.

Numerous bunches of flowers left near the scene included tributes from the emergency services, the NHS, local politicians, Marston Green FC and friends of the three boys.

England international Tyrone Mings is among those who have visited the memorial, saying "we feel that pain".

He was joined by fellow Aston Villa player and club captain John McGinn - who arrived on Wednesday to look at the carpet of floral tributes.

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