Loughton hit-and-run: Child killed in Essex crash named as Harley Watson

3 December 2019, 11:49 | Updated: 3 December 2019, 15:08

Harley Watson has been named as the boy who was killed outside Debden High School
Harley Watson has been named as the boy who was killed outside Debden High School. Picture: PA/Instagram
Sylvia De Luca

By Sylvia De Luca

Floral tributes have been laid outside a school in Loughton where 12-year old Harley Watson was killed in what is believed to be a deliberate hit-and-run.

A 51-year-old man was arrested on Monday on suspicion of murder after a child died and four teenagers and a 23-year-old woman were injured during a car crash in Loughton, Essex.

The 12-year-old boy has been named locally as Harley Watson. He was taken to hospital just after 15:20 GMT on Monday after the collision near Debden High School. He later died of his injuries.

One floral tribute laid outside the school read: "I will miss you so much! Forever be in our hearts. Fly high."

He was only 12
He was only 12. Picture: Instagram

One read: "RIP Harley. Gone but never forgotten" and another said: "Sleep tight Angel."

Reverend Chris Davies said the community is "sad, hurting and grieving" but "pulling together to try and be there for each other."

He said "it's not something you expect to see here in Loughton" and says that St John's Church is open "for anyone that is hurting or struggling".

Christian Cavanagh, executive head teacher, described the boy's death as "a young life so tragically lost".

Christian Cavanagh, executive head teacher, described the boy&squot;s death as "a young life so tragically lost".
Christian Cavanagh, executive head teacher, described the boy's death as "a young life so tragically lost". Picture: LBC News
Floral tributes are laid outside Debden Park High School
Floral tributes are laid outside Debden Park High School. Picture: LBC News

Head teacher Helen Gascoyne said the school had been "devastated" by the death of one of its students and that pupils would be offered counselling on Tuesday.

Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “On behalf of all at Essex County Council I want to express my sadness and send my condolences to the school, the families and friends of victims and the wider school community, following the road traffic incident that took place at Debden Park High School yesterday.

"We are supporting the school and the community at this tragic time, our education psychologists are on site today providing specialist support to pupils, teachers and wider school community.

"We echo messaging from Essex police around there being no further risk to the wider public at this time and would encourage anyone who can support the police with their enquiries via calling 101.”

Essex Police are investigating the crash
Essex Police are investigating the crash. Picture: LBC News

In a statement on Monday, Chief Superintendent Tracey Harman said police were searching for a local man who they believed could be involved in the incident.

She said: "We believe that the collision was deliberate and as such we have launched a murder investigation. We are investigating whether or not this incident may have been connected with another incident nearby."

"This has been an incredibly difficult day for the local community and we ask everybody to continue to show the kindness and their bravery that we have seen today."

Essex Police are urging anyone with information, dash cam footage, or who may have seen anything on social media that they think could be crucial, to call them on 101 and quote incident number 726 of 2 December.

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