13-year-old died playing “choking game”

A CORONER has issued a warning to youngsters after a 13-year-old died after apparantly taking part in a craze called “the choking game”.

Harry Robinson, known to his family as ‘H’, was discovered by his 11-year-old brother Charlie hanging by a dressing gown cord from the shower curtain rail on January 7.

He managed to cut the boy down but he was later pronounced dead in hospital, an inquest at heard.

Chelmsford Coroner’s Court was told Harry had been at home with his brother in Terling near Chelmsford when the tragedy happened.

He was home from school after the snow shut it down and his mum Amanda Keable was out.

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Coroners officer John Denham told the court: “On the evening of January 7, his mother was out leaving him with his 11-year-old brother.

“Harry went to the toilet and a short time later his brother found the door was locked.

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“He phoned his mother and told her that.

“His brother managed to open the door and found Harry hanging from his neck from the shower curtain rail with a towelling dressing gown belt.

“His brother cut him down and Harry hit his head on the bath.

“The brother went for a neighbour.”

An ambulance was called and Harry was rushed to Broomfield Hospitalin Chelmsford where he was pronounced dead.

Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray told the court: “It was believed he was involved in a game called the choking game and that’s what he was doing at the time.”

Air cadet Harry was a pupil at Notley High School in Braintree, Essex, where X-Factor star Olly Murs had been a student.

Mrs Beasley Murray continued: “Clearly it had been a very happy day. He had been playing in the snow - that day the school had been closed.”

The coroner said that Mrs Keable, who also has a daughter Rhianna, 15, wanted to raise awareness of the dangers of the ‘choking game’.

It is believed to be part of an internet craze where children do increasingly dangerous things and film themselves doing it.

The coroner warned children that taking part in these dangerous games was ‘dicing with death’.

Mrs Beasley Murray said: “There’s sufficient evidence before me to believe it was highly likely Harry was experimenting with the choking game and it’s gone terribly wrong.

“There’s clearly concern nationally about this practice.

“It’s an extremely dangerous practice that children are engaging in - to say they are dicing with death is an understatement.

“None of these children intend to kill themselves - there is no evidence Harry wanted to kill himself.

“We need to educate them about the real risk they are taking. We need to educate parents in what to look out for - the tell-tale signs.

“The family wish to publicise these dangers so no other family has to go through what they have been through.

“We have to make sure the children are fully aware of the risks they are taking.”

Mrs Beasley said a post mortem said Harry had died of hanging and she recorded a verdict of accidental death.

She said: “This was an unnatural death. Having heard all the evidence and read all the evidence, I’m satisfied Harry’s death occurred as a result of a tragic accident.”

Speaking after the inquest, assistant headteacher of Notley High School Susan Moss urged parents to be aware.

She said that children had posted videos of themselves carrying out risky acts as part of the ‘game’ on the web and there were sites offering tips.

“Harry was a very happy boy. In looking for explanations why he did this, and the way in which he was found suggests it may be what was involved.

“It came up after talking with his friends. Although the children may think it’s something that’s a challege, it has a side to it that means they can end up killing themselves.

“It’s a lot more dangerous than they think.

“Children are very secretive when they are in early adolescence. They keep things to themselves.

“Parents should look to see what children have filmed on their phones and what websites they are looking at.

“Also they should check their facebook pages and social websites, who are their friends. Adolescents are highly suggestive.

“Another thing to look for is bruising marks or scuff marks around their necks.”

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