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Mother whose son ‘drowned’ slams council for ‘betraying her family’

Heartbroken mother whose son, 20, ‘drowned three years ago following a night out’ slams council for ‘betraying her family’ by failing to fence off river where he fell in

  • Jason Norfolk is believed to have drowned in the River Hull in December 2015 
  • His mother Karen, 53, said she felt ‘betrayed’ after the dock area was not fenced
  • Hull City Council said it would be impossible to barricade the ‘working river’ 

Jason Norfolk, pictured, went missing in Hull in December 2015 following a night out

A mother whose 20-year-old son is feared to have drowned in the River Hull has slammed her city council for failing to fence it off. 

Jason Norfolk went missing in Hull in December 2015 following a night out and his shoes and phone were found on a muddy bank nearby.  

His mother Karen said she felt ‘betrayed’ after the dock area was not fenced off but the council said it was impossible to have barriers along the ‘working river’. 

The 53-year-old said she knew ‘in her heart’ that Jason had died but his body has never been found. 

She said: ‘It is the principle – there is still a grieving family in despair and dealing with the loss of Jason not being with us.

‘But for the council to tell us we can’t put up railings because it is a ‘working river’ and there was no option – but then three years later allow someone else to do it.

‘I feel like we were lied to when we were told no railings could be put up. Imagine if someone else would have fallen in.

‘The council have betrayed me and my family. What would have happened if it had happened again? What would they do if someone else would have fallen in?’

Jason is believed to have fallen in the River Hull on December 6, 2015, and Mrs Norfolk said the Christmas period was always a terrible time for the family. 


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She said: ‘I have had to look after a son and a daughter this Christmas who are still deeply affected by Jason’s death.

‘I don’t want to go over old wounds, I have said what I had to say last year about Jason. We still miss him hugely.

‘And for the council to say there is nothing they can do, and then turn around and allow railings set up in the same area is really upsetting.’

Jason had lived in Hull with Mrs Norfolk, his father Chris Norfolk, 53, his 12-year-old sister Sophie and his older brother Lee.    

Jason Norfolk, pictured, is believed to have fallen in the River Hull on December 6, 2015, and his mother Karen Norfolk said the Christmas period was always a terrible time for the family

Karen Norfolk said she felt ‘betrayed’ after the river was not fenced off, but the council said it was impossible to have barriers along the ‘working’ River Hull (pictured)

He had visited several pubs with his friends in the city’s Old Town on the night he went missing.

None of his friends noticed him leave Rumours Bar in the city’s old town, but CCTV showed him walking along Liberty Lane, towards High Street, at 1.16am. He was not seen alive again.  

Hull City Council have said that they have not received any official planning applications for any railings or barriers to be constructed around parts of the dock area. 

A council spokesperson said: ‘Our thoughts are with Jason’s family as they remember him at this time.

‘At the time of Jason’s tragic death we undertook a number of safety measures in addition to the guardrail already in place at the entrance to the Scale Lane Bridge, we installed an anti-slip surface along the full length of the boardwalk and made improvements to CCTV coverage.

‘We have previously installed barriers along the public right of way on land which the Council owns adjacent to the River Hull where there is restricted visibility, such as at bends in the footpath.

‘However, the possibility to introduce barriers along the entire length of the River Hull is impractical and where access is required to boats along the working river.’ 

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