Havant boy’s rope swing death ‘must be a warning’ to others

TRAGIC DEATH Joshua Twigg
TRAGIC DEATH Joshua Twigg
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TEENAGER Joshua Twigg died after a ‘game’ with a swing rope went horribly wrong, a coroner has ruled.

The 16-year-old was found by his older brothers, twins Dan and Ben, with his neck entangled in a swing rope that was hanging from a tree near their home in Tangley Walk, West Leigh, Havant.

An inquest at Portsmouth Guildhall heard the catering student had tried before to put his head in the loop of the rope - which was just a few inches from the ground - to see how long he could endure it.

A police officer told the inquest there was evidence other children on the estate had also experimented with the game.

The inquest heard Joshua had been taking the family dogs out for a walk at nearby Sharps Copse when the tragedy happened at about 10.30pm on May 23 last year.

He was pronounced dead at Queen Alexandra Hospital after efforts to revive him failed.

Pathologist Barbara Borek told the inquest that any pressure exerted on the arteries in Joshua’s neck would be enough to make him lose consciousness very quickly.

Police carried out an investigation - including examining Joshua’s phone - and there was no indication he wanted to take his own life.

Coroner David Horsley recorded a verdict of accidental death.

‘I think this is some sort of experiment or game that’s gone wrong,’ he said.

‘I think he’s lost his footing.

‘He may have tried it before but this time it’s gone wrong.

‘I think this is due to an accident - something that has gone horribly wrong and irreversibly wrong and happened so quickly he could not do anything about it.’

He said that ‘lessons could be learned’ from the tragedy and it sent a warning out to young people about the potential dangers of swing ropes.

He added: ‘If any good come out of this...it’s not to play silly games like this.

‘It’s an extremely stupid thing to do.’

Joshua’s mum Rizi Matthew said her son had everything to live for as he had found love with his first girlfriend, was doing well at college and was getting his first job.

She said: ‘I knew it was an accident. He had too much to live for.

‘Even if his death could be a warning to other parents about ropes and swings on trees.

‘Even if it saves one child.’

She added: ‘I just want people to know I was very privileged to be his mum.’