A CORONER has determined that the death of a four-year-old boy in west Wales last year from drowning was an accident.

Ifan Wedros Owen-Jones, from Blaenffos near Boncath in Pembrokeshire, may not have understood the harm of 'potential hazards' due to autism, an inquest heard on Thursday, 27 July.

Coroner Paul Bennett described the incident, which took place on 7 August last year, as an "extremely distressing and tragic case" which "can only be an accident".

Ifan, who lived in a caravan on a farm with his mother, father and three brothers, was described as non-verbal at the inquest in Haverfordwest.

Mother, Sian Owen, had dozed during last year's heatwave and at the time of the accident, said she could hear Ifan reciting the Fireman Sam theme song.

When Ifan could not be found, the family searched the farm and his uncle, Matthew Owen, found him floating face down in a pond.

Emergency services were called at about 5.30pm on Sunday, 7 August and Ifan was declared dead at 6.40pm.

Andrew Bamber, a consultant paediatric and perinatal pathologist, told the inquest that on the balance of probability, the young boy drowned, adding that his autistic spectrum disorder would have reduced his understanding of hazards.

Mr Bennett, the acting senior coroner for Pembrokeshire, said the case was 'extremely distressing and tragic, ruling it could only be an accident.

Following Ifan's death, the family issued a statement, saying: "Ifan was a beautiful, happy, healthy little boy.

"He had his struggles with some things due to being Autistic but he was amazing at other things. He loved the alphabet, counting and colours. He would watch Fireman Sam over and over. He loved climbing on anything he could find. His iPad (diamond) was his safety blanket, it went everywhere with him.

"Everyone who met Ifan fell in love with him, everyone adored him.

"He was and always will be our special little boy. We are so lost without him, Ifan was our world. We are all truly broken.

"We as a family are truly overwhelmed with the support, kindness and generosity we have received from our family, friends, local community and even people we don’t even know.

"We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts."