A heartbroken mother has said her 17-year-old daughter drowned in a freak accident in their holiday villa’s swimming pool.
Marie Fitzsimmons, 44, awoke to screams as her daughter’s best friend discovered Leah Wilson in their Tenerife swimming pool last Monday.
The Somerset mother-of-five performed CPR on her daughter and an ambulance crew rushed Leah to hospital after she regained a slow pulse.
Marie Fitzsimmons, 44, (pictured left with daughter Leah) said she woke to screams as her daughter’s best friend discovered Leah Wilson in their Tenerife swimming pool last Monday
But X-rays revealed the teenager had taken in too much water in her lungs and brain and she died later that afternoon.
Ms Fitzsimmons described her daughter as ‘beautiful, bright and full of life’ and claims she had dreams of becoming an accountant and businesswoman and buying her own home.
The devastated mother has vowed to never go abroad or near water again following Leah’s death and even asked friends to dismantle her home swimming pool before she arrived back in the UK to avoid looking at it.
Mother-of-five Ms Fitzsimmons performed CPR on her daughter and an ambulance crew rushed Leah to hospital after she regained a slow pulse
She said she will ‘never get over’ the death of her ‘beautiful’ daughter – who had completed her ‘bucket list’ goal of swimming with sea lions just two days before she died.
Ms Fitzsimmons, of Bridgwater, Somerset, said: ‘She said, ‘That’s one of the things ticked off my bucket list”. Two days later, this happened.
‘I feel like someone has ripped my heart out. I’ve got this constant pain in my chest all the time.
‘The loss is so big. It’s really big, especially when I know she had everything going for her.
‘Everyone loved her, even her boss. Everyone is so shocked and so surprised. She was so well-loved by every single person. I just can’t believe this world could be so cruel.
‘Leah was such a young, beautiful person. She was beautiful on the inside as well as the outside.
The devastated mother has vowed to never go abroad or near water again following Leah’s death and even asked friends to dismantle her home swimming pool before she arrived back in the UK to avoid looking at it. Pictured is the entire holiday group in Tenerife. Bottom left is Leah
Ms Fitzsimmons (pictured with Leah) said: ‘Leah was such a young, beautiful person. She was beautiful on the inside as well as the outside’
‘She was so bright, so beautiful, so full of life. She’s just a happy, happy 17-year-old girl. She was on an apprenticeship for a businesswoman and accountant.
‘She had a little cleaning job on the side to help her get by but she had her whole life ahead of her.
‘Everybody loved her. She’s a well-liked girl. She was so polite, so well-mannered. She was just an amazing, amazing girl.
‘It’s hard. It’s the hardest thing I will ever go through. People keep saying it will get easier but we’re never going to forget what we saw that morning and what we heard. Never.
‘It was so loud – everyone screaming. And how we saw her, it wasn’t a good sight. I am never going to get over this, ever.
The family had been on holiday in Tenerife since August 6 – with Leah, who loved swimming, completing her ‘bucket list’ goal of swimming with sea lions just two days before she died
‘She was my baby. I gave birth to her. She was my baby, my precious little darling. The only thing is I can’t see her. I can’t wrap my arms around her or anything.’
The family had been on holiday in Tenerife since August 6 – with Leah, who loved swimming, completing her ‘bucket list’ goal of swimming with sea lions just two days before she died.
Ms Fitzsimmons claims Leah had woken up before the rest of the group on August 12 and gone for a swim unattended.
Although still waiting for answers, she believes her daughter may have slipped into the pool or dived and hit her chin against the floor, before passing out in the water.
They had been due to travel back home on August 16, but the remaining 11-members of the holiday party immediately booked flights back and returned home the very next day – yet were forced to leave Leah’s body in Tenerife.
Ms Fitzsimmons claims Leah (pictured with friend Renee Godbeer who found her) had woken up before the rest of the group on August 12 and gone for a swim unattended
She claims the family are devastated by the fatal accident and are walking around like ‘zombies’ as they wait to bring Leah back to the UK.
Ms Fitzsimmons, who is a supervisor at a cleaning company, said: ‘The family is distraught. No one is speaking. Everyone is walking around like we’re zombies.
‘None of us are really speaking. There’s a lot of crying. No one is really eating or sleeping.
‘I’m never going to get over this. I just wish it had never happened. I don’t really know what happened. I just can’t stop being sick over it.
‘All I know is my daughter went for a morning swim, and her friend woke up and saw her in the swimming pool floating.
‘She did have a split in her mouth with blood coming out of it and a faint bruise on her chin, so we do think she had hit something. She’s [possibly] dived in and hit her chin.
‘She could have been trying to get out of the swimming pool and hit her chin. We don’t know. We just don’t know.
‘She has knocked herself out. That’s the one thing that hospital said. She was passed out, which is how she’s taken on so much water.
‘But we will never, ever find out exactly what happened or how Leah went. We will just have a few answers.
‘She absolutely loved water. She loved swimming, she loved sea lions and dolphins. Two days before this happened we went to the zoo and she got to swim with sea lions.
‘It was something she got to tick off her bucket list. It was the happiest day of her life. She absolutely loved it. The smile on her face was out of this world.
‘The pictures they took – she looks like a little angel. You can see the pride in her face with how happy she was.
‘She’s madly in love with her dog back home, Doughnut, and she was telling us how the sea lion feels like her dog. She had us in stitches.
‘I just want her back in the country so I can go and see her and put my arms around her because we didn’t get to see her much that day.
‘All I can say for sure is I am never going abroad again. I will be staying in my own country.
‘I love water too, but I’m not going near any water again. I had my swimming pool in my garden taken down before I even got home because I don’t want to see a swimming pool again in my life.
‘It’s frustrating me that it was happening right there while I was sleeping. I’m so angry with myself because I should have been protecting her. I was asleep.
‘That’s why I don’t like sleeping now. I don’t want to close my eyes because you just don’t know what you’re going to wake up to again.
‘I’m never ever letting any one of my kids out of my sight again. I want them all to move back home and stay in their bedrooms and never go back out again.’
Renee Godbeer, 18, who initially discovered Leah in the pool, set up a fundraising page to bring Leah’s body back to the UK when the family became frustrated by the response of their insurance company.
The page raised more than £12,000 and Marie hopes that Leah will be transported back to the UK before this Friday.
After her funeral, the family plan to scatter some of Leah’s ashes in the ocean following her wishes.
Ms Fitzsimmons said: ‘Leah is still in Tenerife at the moment. There are a few problems going on with getting her out. We had insurance but they’re just holding her back over there a lot longer.
‘I can’t wait any longer. I need her back. Instead of going through insurance we’re going to be using the fund money to use a company to take over and bring her back as soon as possible.
‘One thing we do know is we’re going to have a cremation because that’s one thing she wanted, and to have some of her ashes put at sea. We’re going to give her her wishes.
‘But we can’t plan anything until we get her back over here.
‘I wanted to thank Renee for doing this page because we didn’t know anything about it. I want to thank her for everything she’s done, and all those beautiful people out there who have all helped.
‘I haven’t even got the words to thank everyone for all they’ve done. It’s truly amazing.
‘I think to be honest Leah will have a lot of friends turning up at the funeral. I think there will be a lot more than we thought. She was so well-liked and popular.
‘I want everyone to be able to say their goodbyes and for everyone to be able to come.’
A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: ‘We are supporting the family of a young British woman who has died in Tenerife, and are in touch with the Spanish authorities.’