TEENAGER Joshua Twigg died after a ‘game’ with a rope swing went tragically wrong, a coroner has ruled.
The 16-year-old was found by his brothers, twins Dan and Ben, with his neck entangled in a rope that was hanging from a tree near their home in Tangley Walk, West Leigh.
An inquest in Portsmouth 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 other children were known to have experimented with the game.
The inquest heard Joshua had been taking the family’s dogs out for a walk at Sharps Copse when the tragedy happened at 10.30pm on May 23 last year.
Efforts to revive him failed and he was pronounced dead at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
Pathologist Barbara Borek said any pressure exerted on the arteries in Joshua’s neck would be enough to make him lose consciousness quickly.
Police found no indication he wanted to take his own life.
Detective Constable Louise Daniels said: ‘He was a happy young man with great plans for the future.’
The inquest heard his brother Ben had seen Joshua experimenting with the rope.
Det Con Daniels said: ‘He had previously seen him put his head through the rope and then lay out flat. He said “I could go to sleep like this”. He said “don’t be an idiot”. Joshua laughed it off and said it was fine.’
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.
‘He’s lost his footing. 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 the tragedy sent a warning out to young people about the potential dangers of rope swings.
Joshua’s mum Rizi Matthew said her son had everything to live for as he had ‘found his first love’ and was doing well at college.
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 want people to know I was very privileged to be his mum.’