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Drighlington mum tells of family agony
The mother of a schoolboy choked by a mobile phone charger cord told an inquest he was “a little timebomb”.
Tracey Jackson told a Bradford inquest how she had last seen her “hard to predict” 11-year-old son Callum Cooper playing with his football cards upstairs at their Drighlington home.
She returned five minutes later to find him unresponsive on the floor with a cord wrapped round his neck.
Mrs Jackson, of Oakwell Close, wept yesterday as she described screaming to her husband “Callum’s killed himself”.
She told the inquest she could not remember taking the cord off, but his step-dad Ian Jackson said when he rushed in moments later he saw only “grooves” on the child’s neck. Callum was taken by paramedics to Dewsbury District Hospital A&E last September.
Doctors found he had irreversible brain damage and would not survive. He was taken off life support and died the next day.
The inquest heard from Mrs Jackson how on a previous occasion her son had put a computer game electrical cord round his neck after he spat at her and told her to go away. She had gone into the kitchen then heard him say “Bye, mum”. When she went back to the stairs she saw what he was doing and had to smack his arm so he would let go off the flex.
Mrs Jackson said if she ever told him off he would threaten to kill himself.
She said: “Everything was attention-based. If he got attention he loved it.”
A statement by neighbour and family friend Donna Grayshon said Callum had been a pupil at Drighlington Primary School until he was moved to Outwood School near Wakefield.
She said the head teacher at Drighlington had a “zero-tolerance” policy and had thought it would be better for the other children if he left.
However, she said Callum was not happy at Outback because “they had locks on the doors and the teachers were nasty. He was always running away”.
A police investigation was started after his death. Detective Superintendent Sukhbir Singh said the inquiry was now completed and he was satisfied there had been no third party involvement in Callum’s death.
Scenes of Crime Officer Stephen Leyland said the phone charger cord had been plugged in at the wall and taken across the mattress of a lower bunk bed before being wrapped twice round Callum’s neck.
Results of a forensic post-mortem examination showed the boy had died from asphyxia due to a ligature strangulation.
Recording a verdict of misadventure, deputy assistant coroner Timothy Ratcliffe said: “I’m not sure beyond reasonable doubt he intended to end his life but I’m satisfied he put the charger cord round his own neck.”
A serious-case review is now being carried out by the Leeds Safeguarding Children Board.