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Mother says death of teenage son James Corfield has been 'soul destroying'

Credit: Family photo

The mother of a teenager who died during the Royal Welsh Show says she found it 'terribly hard' coming to terms with the heartbreak of losing her son.

19-year-old James Corfield, from Montgomery, died after falling into a river during a night out in Builth Wells during the Royal Welsh Show last year.

Speaking exclusively to ITV’s current affairs programme Ein Byd for the first time since his death, Louise Corfield says it has been 'soul destroying':

We’re struggling terribly. Birthdays, Christmas, just laying the table is soul destroying. Going to the supermarket and you can’t buy what James likes, is terrible, it’s heartbreaking.

– Louise Corfield, James' mother

On 25th July 2017, James was reported missing by his mother after he failed to meet his family at the showground.

I knew in my heart that something was seriously wrong because it was so out of character for James.

– Louise Corfield, James' mother

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He had been enjoying a night out with friends at the members' bar located on the site of the agricultural showground, before taking a minibus to Builth Wells. He was last seen walking through a car park in the town centre after leaving the White Horse pub. After an extensive search, his body was found five days later in the river Wye.

Credit: Family photo

The circumstances surrounding James’ death remain unclear, with an inquest last year ruling there was no concrete evidence to prove that he had drowned - it is believed that James may have tried crossing the river on his way home from a night out.

The unanswered questions surrounding her son’s tragic death have been difficult for Louise and her family to process.

I know up to 11:56, James’ movements when he left the Grove car park and I know he was found in three foot of water, but we’ll never know what happened to James and that is terribly hard to live with.

– Louise Corfield
Credit: Family photo

Following James’s death, Louise and her family have been campaigning for tighter safety measures in and around the showground.

Stricter measures were implemented at last year’s show including the introduction of more fencing, street pastors policing roads near the showground, and a ‘Green Route’ to safely guide people between the Young People’s Village and Builth Wells town centre.

James was the third person to have lost his life during the Royal Welsh event, and although glad additional steps have been taken, Louise says such incidents 'must stop now'.

  • To see the full interview, watch Ein Byd tonight on S4C at 9:30pm. English subtitles are available.