Tributes to boy, 11, who died in tragic accident

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A Doncaster school has paid tribute to a popular and energetic 11-year-old pupil who died after a tragic accident at his family home.

Cole Michael Underwood had everything to live for, an inquest heard, after it emerged he was found at home dead with his school tie fastened to his neck at one and a curtain pole on the other.

He had appeared to be kneeling on his bed looking out of the window when he was found, the inquest heard, and his family has stressed he was not hanging.

Paying tribute to Cole, John Innes, Headteacher at Balby Carr Community Academy said: “He was a high-achieving, well-liked, energetic and bubbly student who was a dream to teach.

“His death was a huge shock to students and staff and our thoughts continue to be with his family and friends.”

Doncaster Coroner Nicola Mundy, recording a verdict of accidental death, said: “I do not believe Cole intended to take his own life.

“He had everything to live for, he had a loving family, he was doing well at school and he had good friends.

“It will never be clear exactly what happened, but at 11-years-old it is possible he was messing around with his tie did not realise the seriousness of what he was doing.”

Cole had returned home to King Edward Road, Balby, from school on Thursday, March 19, and asked his mum, Kate Underwood, if he could go out to play with friends.

Mum-of-three Miss Underwood said he had to stay in because his brother was poorly and Cole went to his room.

Two hours later, when she went to tell him his tea was ready she found him dead.

Miss Underwood said: “It was a normal day. Cole got in from school at 4.30pm and asked me if I would take me back to school for a kick about with his friends. I said no because his younger brother was not well.

“He went up to his room and I heard the door slam, but there had been no crossed words.

“At about 5.45pm Jon, my partner, got in from work and at about 6pm we ordered a takeaway pizza. I texted Cole to tell him, this was not unusual, we often texted each other when were both in the house. Cole did not reply, this was not unusual either.

“When the pizza arrived Jon called Cole and he did not reply.”

Miss Underwood said she called Cole several times and when he still did not reply she went upstairs to get him.

“When I got halfway up the stairs I had an awful feeling something was wrong.”

Miss Underwood called for Jon Coggill, her partner of eight years, who alerted paramedics as she performed CPR.

Paramedics arrived at the family home just before 6.40pm and took over administrating CPR.

At 6.47pm, Cole, who was wearing his school uniform, was pronounced dead.

Miss Underwood, a support worker, told the court: “I am sure he did not mean to do this. He was looking forward to the weekend and his own birthday.

“He was a popular boy, all of his friends are shocked as they had plans to see him the next day.

“We never had any problems with his behaviour and he was happy at school. He was on track for getting A*s.”

Dr Martha Cohen, who carried out a post-mortem examination, said Cole died from compression to the neck.