A HEARTBROKEN family has issued a warning to parents about swimming pool safety after a coroner concluded a much-loved little girl died as a result of a tragic accident.

Four-year-old Mya Piper, from Darlington, walked past a safety fence and drowned in an adult pool while on a family break in Cyprus, the inquest in Crook heard on Friday.

Her mother, Lisa Piper, had been distracted by an urgent phone call from the UK about a court case in which she was an alleged victim.

When she realised her daughter was missing, she feared she had been snatched until a holidaymaker raised the alarm from his balcony after spotting Mya in the pool.

She died despite frantic efforts to revive the youngster and now her family wants to warn others of the dangers.

Lisa Piper’s aunt, Gillian, 59, from Darlington, said: “We want to take the opportunity to warn other parents to be vigilant around the poolside.

“You might think it cannot happen to you, we are the evidence that it can.

“We do not want another family to go through what we have been through.”

The tragedy happened in June 2014 as the family was staying at Evalena Hotel in the resort of Protaras.

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In a statement read out at the hearing, Lisa Piper, a former hairdresser, said she was on holiday with her sister, brother, father and stepmother as well as Mya and her younger son, arriving the day before the tragedy.

The family were spending the day by the pool, when she received a phone call about making a victim statement relating to a domestic incident which was due to be dealt with the following day, the court heard.

The coroner said: “Any person receiving that is to treat that call seriously and would give attention to it.”

Ms Piper said the call lasted five minutes and she lost sight of Mya, who had been in the children’s shallow pool.

She realised her daughter was missing during the call and ended it, then started to search for her, before seeing a woman pulling her out of the adult pool.

The mother, now 40, said: “I was in the water as well and that lady handed her to me.

“She was unconscious.”

Russian holidaymaker Viacheslav Gordeen was on the hotel balcony when he spotted a girl at the bottom of the pool and shouted a warning to sunbathers around the pool, and a woman dived in.

“Someone turned the baby upside down and I saw water coming out of her mouth,” his statement said.

Rescuer Oxana Kuzesh said in a statement that she heard the man shouting, adding: “I got up and jumped in the pool, the baby was at the bottom, there was nobody (else) in the water at the time.”

An ambulance arrived within five minutes but Mya could not be saved.

The inquest heard that no lifeguards were on duty.

The owner of the Evalena Hotel, Andreas Ttofinis, was charged with a safety offence, the inquest heard.

He was given a two-year suspended prison sentence and his company was handed a 3,500 Euro (£2,980) fine, following court proceedings in Cyprus, the hearing was told.

Coroner Dr John Hamilton apologised to the family for the delay in holding the inquest.

He said there had been considerable difficulties in getting information from the Cypriot authorities.

The children’s pool was just over 3ft (1m) away from the adult pool, separated by a fence which people could simply walk around, the hearing was told.

Since then, the pool area has been redesigned so the shallow children’s pool is further away from the adults’ area.

Dr Hamilton said his conclusion was that “this was nothing other than a tragic accident”.

He said: “Any parent will understand what you have gone through.

“It is every parent and grandparents’ nightmare. You take your eye off them for a minute or two and they can be gone.”

Ms Piper attended the inquest with her aunt, Gillian, and her father, Stephen.

Paying tribute to Mya, Gillian Piper said: “She was the most adorable, beautiful little girl.

“There’s not a second of any day that we do not think of her.

“She was beautiful inside and out.”