Keira Madden’s father makes a new appeal for witnesses to her death

Keira Madden with her father Steve
Keira Madden with her father Steve

A fresh appeal for witnesses who could hold the key to the death of Felpham four-year-old Keira Madden has been made by her father.

Steve Madden has used the first anniversary of the tragedy today (Friday, July 1) to urge people to come forward with any information which could help him find out what happened to his daughter.

He described Keira as the most beautiful and adorable child any parent could wish for, and said he spoke to her daily.

His last chat was on the morning Keira apparently drowned in a tragic accident while swimming with her mum, Cathy.

Mr Madden, 42, said too many unanswered questions remained about events leading up to her death.

“If anyone out there can remember anything, no matter how small, I would ask them to please contact Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999,” he said.

“The last time Keira and Cathy were seen they left the family home in our green Renault Megane with what looked like beach gear.

“The car was seen returning in the evening, but there is about a five to six-hour gap where it’s missing.

“Police camera checks did not pick up the car leaving Bognor Regis so the beach must have been a local one.

“No-one knows what beach they may have gone to – Bognor, Pagham, Felpham, Witterings, Climping or Elmer.

“Over 2,000 people who were on those beaches that day were interviewed by the police.

“No-one can recall seeing them.”

Keira’s body was found in the master bedroom of the family home in Roundle Avenue, Felpham, by the police on July 3.

Cathy, overcome by grief, wrote a suicide note and her body was recovered from the bottom of Birling Gap about 2.30pm the same day.

Keira is believed to have died on July 1.

A recent inquest into the death of Keira, which led to an open verdict being recorded, left Mr Madden searching for answers.

He said: “In my own mind, when I started to go through the facts it just did not make sense.

“The suicide note Cathy left was in her perfect handwriting, not that of a person who’d just lost their daughter.

“It read there had been a terrible accident. She’d taken Keira swimming.

“Keira was resting on her back. She felt her grip go, turned round to find she was unconscious and was so sorry.

“There was no mention of any efforts to revive her daughter.

“Cathy had life-saving badges. She would often swim with Keira on her back.

“Keira would hold on with her arms around Cathy’s neck. Her head resting on Cathy’s back, out of the water.

“How does somebody drown when they’re not in the water?

“Keira was a good swimmer. “We had taught her to swim from the age of about six months. She had lessons.

“Her teacher said she could swim five metres on her front. She could confidently float on her back. The sea that day was described as flat and calm.

“The pathologist at the inquest said her death could have been as a result of drowning, but could not be fully sure.”