Inquest opens into the death of Hayling Island boy, 17, who died at a children’s home 

A person has died at an address in Church Road in Hayling Island on March 6, 2019, at around 1.07pm. Up to 15 firefighters attended along with police and medics after an 'unknown substance' was found. Picture: Neil Fatkin
A person has died at an address in Church Road in Hayling Island on March 6, 2019, at around 1.07pm. Up to 15 firefighters attended along with police and medics after an 'unknown substance' was found. Picture: Neil Fatkin
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AN INQUEST has opened into the death of a teenage boy at a children’s home on Hayling Island.

Damian Szarach, 17, died on Wednesday, March 6 while at Poppy Lodge, in Church Road.

Portsmouth Coroners’ Court is preparing the inquest into the teenager’s death.

As previously reported, emergency services descended upon the children’s home shortly after 1pm after Damian’s body was discovered.

The youngster’s body was found next to an ‘unknown substance’, prompting a major response from firefighters.

Up to 15 officers, supported by police, and South Central Ambulance Service’s (Scas) hazardous area response team were called in to assess the area.

Paramedics from Scas confirmed that Damian had died at the scene.

Speaking last week, a spokeswoman for Poppy Lodge said: ‘An active investigation is currently being conducted by Hampshire police and we are unable to comment at this time.’

A spokesman for Hampshire police said the force ‘did not  believe the death to be suspicious’ and that the substance found was ‘not a risk to the public’.

Poppy Lodge is run by Hillcrest Children’s Services Ltd and provides care and accommodation for up to seven young men with complex difficulties.

It is rated outstanding by Ofsted, who last inspected in September last year.

But in a recommendation inspectors said staff should ‘continually and actively assess the risks to each child and the arrangements in place to protect them’.