A TODDLER was left in a car for just two minutes when it rolled into the River Teifi and filled up with water, an inquest has heard.

An inquest into the death of Kiara Moore, who drowned in Cardigan a week before her third birthday, was held in Aberystwyth today, Tuesday, November 27.

The inquest heard that Kiara was airlifted to Cardiff after attempts to resuscitate her at the scene, but was likely to have died 30 seconds after the car rolled into the River Teifi at around 3.30pm on March 19.

PCSO Carol Griffiths became emotional as she described her efforts to reach the youngster through the window of the submerged car.

Police began a search after an intial report that a car had been stolen with a three-year-old girl inside, but the Mini was spotted by a police helicopter in the river.

PCSO Griffiths said: “Looking towards the water I could see the aerial of the car poking above the surface.

“I took off my stab vest, utility belt and boots and dived head-first into the river. The river was freezing cold and the current was really strong.”

She and another officer swam out to the vehicle and had to smash the passenger window to pull Kiara out.

“It took several hits for the glass to break, I put my hand in and immediately felt Kiara’s body, she floated out and into my arms.”

The officers took Kiara to shore and placed her gently on the ground where CPR was performed.

Investigators found that the car was in third gear with the handbrake down and the keys in the ignition when it was recovered from the water.

Kiara’s father Jethro Moore told the court that he had an office base in the old scout hut at The Strand, but was working in Castlemartin on the day in question.

He told the inquest that there had been no issues with the car’s handbrake, and it had previously been parked on steep hills.

He added: “I had never known Kiara to play with the handbrake, she never fiddled with the steering wheel or the controls, she knew not to and wasn’t interested.

“If the handbrake was on properly I don’t think she would have the strength to push the button and put it down.”

In a statement read to the inquest, Kiara’s mother Kim Rowlands said she sat on her bankcard, snapping it, after getting into the car with her daughter on the slipway outside the office where Kiara had played with toys while she worked.

Knowing that she needed to buy food for the family, she returned to unlock the office and get a £10 note from the safe. She stated that she left the door ajar and could hear her daughter ‘singing shouting and laughing’ in the car.

CCTV footage showed the car rolled into the river in the two minutes one second that she left it.

She said: “As soon as I reached the door I could see that the car had gone. I was running around asking anyone if they had seen it. I called Jet and he told me to call the police.

“I was panicking, I did not know what to do.”

Investigators found that the handbrake ‘appeared serviceable’ when examined, and the car was in a ‘generally well-maintained condition’ with no defects.

Ceredigion coroner Peter Brunton extended his ‘profound sympathies’ to Kiara’s parents as he recorded a verdict of misadventure, adding that there would be ‘no satisfactory finding’ as to how the handbrake was released.

Mr Brunton said: “This was a young life which was cut short before it had begun properly. It is a catastrophic event to lose a child.”