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Schoolboy's hanging 'was a reckless mistake'

TRAGIC: David Love
TRAGIC: David Love

THE mother of a boy found hanging in his bedroom says the coroner was correct to rule it was not suicide.

David Love died just two weeks before his 13th birthday. He had attached a rope to the top of his bed and wrapped it around his neck.

An inquest heard how Caroline Love found her son on the evening of August 16 at the family home in Sunnyhill Road, Hampton.

Coroner Ian Goldup dismissed speculation that playground taunts over the colour of his hair had led David to take his own life. His final act was but a "reckless" one, he said.

David went to Herne Bay High School. Pat Unwin, head of Year 7, said in a statement she was aware of "occasional" playground taunts directed at David over the colour of his hair, but added he "didn’t seem unduly concerned".

Friend Madeleine Kearney, 13, claimed he had "not particularly liked school" because of the name-calling and described a moment when he had held a chain he wore on his trousers around his neck in the manner of a noose.

"He joked about it but he sounded serious," she said.

But best friend Sophie Beech, 12, claimed he was happy at school. Her statement said he would rise above taunts such as 'ginger-nut'. She said: "He used to answer back 'Well done, you’ve passed the colour blind test' and we’d laugh."

In statements made by both relatives and friends, David was described as a "daredevil", "adventurous", one who "liked to take a chance", a "thrill-seeker" and a "free spirit".

The inquest heard how he loved to go crabbing and fishing, exploring the cliffs around Herne Bay, cooking and making fires.

Cousin Lisa MacDonald, 14, said: "He loved climbing into rocks and going into holes even when there was a sign saying not to."

In the days leading up to his death, David had been particularly excited at the prospect of visiting his father Mark Love.

Mr Love, a soldier stationed at Catterick in north Yorkshire, split up with Mrs Love several years ago. He told the inquest: "I last spoke to David on Monday, August 15. He was very excited about coming to see me."

Recording a verdict of misadventure, Mr Goldup said David had done something in the knowledge it was reckless, but that the tragic consequences were never his intention.

After the hearing Mrs Love said: "It was the verdict we expected. For anyone who knew David well it was the correct one."

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