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Josef, nine, dies in hanging tragedy in garden
A schoolboy has died in a tragic hanging accident after getting tangled in a play rope attached to a tree in his garden.
Josef Kazzan’s neighbour, Steve Rhodes, told last night of how he and the boy’s mother had desperately battled to save the nine-year-old, giving him mouth-to-mouth and heart massage after the freak accident at his Cleckheaton home.
But Josef died two days later after his life support was switched off at Leeds General Infirmary, with his devoted family by his side.
Mr Rhodes, who lives next door in Woodlands Drive, said: “It was a normal Sunday afternoon, people washing cars and children playing out. I was in the garage when I heard shouting and went out to see Jo’s mum and dad climbing up the tree.
“It was Jo’s tree, he was always up it. He’d climbed it millions of times. He was climbing it before he could walk. I think he’d been on the rope when he must’ve slipped or something.”
Before paramedics arrived at the scene Mr Rhodes and Josef’s mother Rachel had tried to resuscitate him.
Mr Rhodes, who had known Josef since he was born, said: “We managed to get a heart beat and a weak pulse but he never came round after that. I can’t believe he’s gone. I miss the noise, I miss him bouncing around. He had so much energy in a small package.
“His mum and dad made that garden for the children, it’s like a wonderland. They had everything in there a child would ever want.”
At the home yesterday, cuddly dinosaur toys peered down from the garage roof and bouquets of flowers lay under the 20ft weeping willow tree where he played. Josef lived at home with his parents, older sister Nadia and brother Sam, aged five.
Mr Rhodes, 49, said: “If you took all the pain from all the hearts of the people who knew Jo and multiplied it by millions it would never touch the agony his family are feeling. My heart bleeds for them. They were the best of families. His dad Ahmed and him were just like best friends.”
Josef was a pupil at St Patrick’s Primary School in Birstall . It is understood counsellors have been on hand to help pupils and staff come to terms with their loss.
The youngster played football for Drighlington Under 10s and had recently been awarded Parents’ Player of the Year.
On the club’s website, its secretary Simon Duckworth paid tribute to Jozef, saying: “He was a nice kid with a mischievous glint in his eye. He led the team well and played the highest standard every minute in every game. His dad told me he felt as though he’d lost his best mate. It’s hard for all his family, his little brother as well, he was like a surrogate dad to Sam.”
The club is now organising a collection in Josef’s memory to go to the LGI’s children’s ward and are planning a memorial trophy.
Police were called to Josef’s home address and carried out some house-to-house inquiries but are treating it as “an unfortunate accident”, said a police spokesman.