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Home   Gravesend   News   Article

Gad's Hill School pupil Charlie Booth found dead after 'shooting himself' in Cobham

11 March 2013
by Danny Boyle

Gad's Hill School pupil Charlie Booth died after allegedly shooting himself with his father's gun in Cobham

This is the first picture of a teenage boy found dead at his home after apparently shooting himself with his father's gun.

Public schoolboy Charlie Booth, 16, was found dead in Watling Street, Cobham, on Friday night.

Police discovered the body of Charlie, who was a member of the cadet force at Gad's Hill School in Higham, at 10.30pm.

Kent Police confirmed a teenager had been found dead at the scene, before sources reported he had taken his own life with his father's weapon.

Friends have been paying touching tribute to Charlie on Twitter today, describing him as a "great friend" who will "never be forgotten".

Tragic Charlie lived with his father Nicholas, 52, and marketing assistant mother Julia, 48, in a large country home.

Following the shock death, the headmaster of Charlie's exclusive private school led tributes to the youth, who was a talented sportsman.Charlie Booth aged five with his father Nicholas enjoying the coconut shy at the Museum of Kent Life in June 2002

Charlie Booth aged five with his father Nicholas enjoying the coconut shy at the Museum of Kent Life in June 2002

David Craggs (pictured right) said pupils and staff at the £10,000-a-year school were "united in grief" by the tragedy.

He revealed the sad death to a whole-school assembly this morning.

Mr Craggs said: "I am sure you will all react with shock and deep sadness at this news.

"Charlie was after all a remarkable young man, who had such a bright future ahead of him.

"Our first thoughts are for Charlie's family and I can say with confidence, that they have the heartfelt support and condolences of the whole Gad's Hill community.David Craggs

"It is at times like this - to quote recent comments by President Barack Obama - we will all hug our own children a little closer over the next few days.

"Charlie joined Gad's in our Junior School and soon proved to be an outstanding student, contributing greatly to all areas of school life, demonstrating huge talent on the rugby and football fields and successfully competing for Gad's in cross-country events.

"He was an excellent ambassador for our School, an NCO in the School's Combined Cadet Force and was due embrace his passion for adventure and his love for the outdoors on a once-in-a-lifetime school expedition to Alaska this summer.

"Charlie was able to distinguish himself above other cadets, showing great strength, initiative and leadership, and he was a great friend to so many.

"Charlie was a friendly, enthusiastic, mature and self-confident student with so much to live for - attributes that make this tragedy even more difficult to comprehend.

"He will be greatly missed. His loss leaves his family, our school and the wider Gad's community in mourning and struggling to make sense of what has unfolded.

"We have kept the school opened today as a mark of respect to Charlie and his family and to also to unite in grief, helping and supporting his classmates and friends who may have been affected by his sudden death.

"Charlie's legacy will live on in our fond memories of him and in the eternal love of his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his friends today."

Gad's Hill School, Higham

Gad's Hill School, where Charlie was a pupil

Charlie was a member of the school's Combined Cadet Force, which trains pupils in a range of military activities including shooting, survival training, rock climbing and taking part in assault courses.

His efforts at the cadet weekend at the Lydd Firing Range last year were praised in the Gadshillian newsletter.

The events, according to the newsletter, included "weapons training, rock climbing and archery".

Cadets took part in 25m shooting range practice with semi-automatic L98A2 rifle, capable of 60-rounds-per-minute.

The newsletter stated: "Adventures included the popular assault course, weapons training, rock climbing and then shooting rounds on the 25-metre range.

"Charlie Booth proved himself as a pro on the assault course."


On Twitter, tributes from classmates described their shock and loss.

Charlie and his friends sat a maths exam last week and he was preparing for his GCSE exams in the summer.

Close friend Millie Martin posted: "RIP Charlie Booth. I love you and I will never ever forget you."

Louis J Lovell said: "Horrible news. In tears and complete shock - RIP Charlie Booth, gone but never forgotten. Just want to wake up from this nightmare xx"

Joe Lawrence said: "RIP Charlie, you'll be missed but never forgotten son xx"

Simon Till said: "RIP Charlie Booth. A great friend from primary school and I used to love going round in the summer. Your in a better place now bro <3"

Aimee Goodwin said: "Wow, RIP Charlie Booth :( he died far too soon and had so much ahead of him:("


Police were called to the address at about 10.30pm after Charlie's body was discovered.

The gun is believed to be licensed and Kent Police say they not making any inquiries into the ownership of the weapon.

A spokesman said: "We can confirm we attended an address in Cobham at 10.30pm and a 16-year-old boy was pronounced dead."

A spokesman for the South East Coast Ambulance Service said: "We can confirm we were called to a private address at around 10.30pm on Friday.

"Sadly the patient died at the scene."

Gad's Hill School, which is based in the former Georgian home of world-renowned author Charles Dickens, was named as the country's top independent school in 2011.

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