Family devastated by death of 'lovely boy' hit by car outside school - National

THE family of Harley Watson said they are ‘devastated’ after the death of their ‘good, kind, helpful and lovely boy’ in a hit-and-run crash.

Harley, 12, died in hospital after a vehicle hit a group of schoolchildren who were leaving Debden Park High School, in Loughton, Essex, at 3.20pm on Monday.

Murder probe detectives believe the suspect may have planned a similar attack nearby moments earlier after they received reports of a car mounting the pavement near Roding Valley High School in Loughton at around 3.10pm.

Harley died in hospital from his injuries and six others - including five children - were also hurt in the crash on Willingale Road.

Harley Watson who died after he was hit by a car in Loughton on Monday. Picture: Essex Police/PA Wire

A 51-year-old man remains in police custody on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and other motoring offences.

In a short statement released through Essex Police, Harley's family said: ‘We are so devastated by what has happened.

‘Harley was a good, kind, helpful and lovely boy.

‘We would like to thank everyone for their kind wishes and concern. However as a family we would like people to respect our privacy and allow us to grieve in peace.’

Floral bouquets left at the entrance to Debden Park High School, in Willingale Road, Loughton, Essex. Picture: Rick Findler/PA Wire

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Scores of well-wishers have begun donating to a GoFundMe.com fundraising page in his memory, which has so far raised more than £30,000.

The 51-year-old man arrested by police is being held on suspicion of murder, six counts of attempted murder and one of causing death by dangerous driving.

He is also accused of six offences of causing serious injury by driving, failing to stop at the scene of a collision and driving without insurance.

Two 15-year-old boys, a 13-year-old boy, a 16-year-old girl, a 12-year-old boy and a 23-year-old woman were left injured after the crash, Essex Police said.

The Rector of Loughton, Reverend Chris Davies, spent Tuesday morning at Harley's school, as tearful parents and pupils laid dozens of floral bouquets near the entrance.

One, from a friend named Edith, said: ‘Dear Harley, I will miss you so much! Forever be in our hearts. Fly high.’

A football inscribed with handwritten messages including ‘sleep tight little man’, and ‘little man with a big heart’ was also left in tribute.