Family devastated after teenager dies in play park prank

(left) Rizi Matthew with her sons (centre) Ben Twigg and (right) Sam Twigg at the scene where her son Joshua Twigg died.   Her son Joshua Twigg died in trees near to his home in Tangley Walk, West Leigh.

(left) Rizi Matthew with her sons (centre) Ben Twigg and (right) Sam Twigg at the scene where her son Joshua Twigg died. Her son Joshua Twigg died in trees near to his home in Tangley Walk, West Leigh.

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A DEVASTATED mother has spoken of her heartache after her teenage son died in what appears to have been a practical joke gone wrong.

Joshua Twigg was a 16-year-old with everything to live for.

Joshua Twigg

Joshua Twigg

His mood was happy as he came back home on Monday evening and took the family’s dogs out for a walk.

But 20 minutes later his brothers found Joshua with his neck entangled in a swing rope, which was attached to a tree just a few yards from the family’s home in Tangley Walk, West Leigh.

The rope was normally used by local kids as a swing.

But Joshua’s family believe the teenager, who had a history of playing pranks, put his neck in the rope and was planning to surprise 18-year-old twins Danny and Ben, who always return home on the same route near to the tree.

Joshua’s mum Rizi Matthew, 43, spoke of the terrible moment she and her partner Chris Ferguson frantically ran outside and performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to try to revive him.

She said: ‘He knew his brothers were due to come down the pathway. It was a practical joke gone horribly, horribly wrong.

‘He came in at 10.10pm. He just popped his head round the front door. He said “I’m back mum”.

‘I said “can you take out the dogs?”. He said he would be back in a minute.

‘In the space of 20 minutes, he was dead.

‘He’s put this rope swing round his neck to play a practical joke on his brothers.

‘He’s either tripped over one of the dogs or slipped and lost his footing.’

Mr Ferguson, 58, said: ‘The rope swing is not high. When he was found he was sitting on the ground. He would not have been suspended.

‘I think the weight of his body has shut off his windpipe and made him unconscious.

‘All he would have had to do is stand up and the pressure would have been off his neck. He was a strong lad.’

Joshua was a talented pastry chef and was training at South Downs College.

His mum added: ‘He was supposed to go fishing the next day as he had the day off. He was not depressed.

‘We were going to make Swiss rolls the next day as he had to prepare for an exam.’

Police have ruled out suspicious circumstances and an inquest will be held to determine exactly what happened.

‘It’s heart-breaking,’ added Ms Matthew.

‘The twins are heartbroken, especially because they found him.’

Joshua’s dad Danny Twigg, 49, said: ‘I haven’t slept. I just want him back.’

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