Schoolboy’s death was a tragic accident

Brad Rothwell
Brad Rothwell
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A TRAGIC young boy who lost his mother to cancer could have died from a prank gone wrong, an inquest heard.

Bolton Coroner’s Court was told Brad Rothwell, 11, was found hanged in his bedroom by his brother and father in May at his home in Atherton.

The court heard Fred Longworth High School pupil Brad had settled well into his first year at High School, with good reports and a circle of friends.

However, he enjoyed watching humorous videos on file-sharing website You Tube and posted short films of himself jumping out of wardrobes to frighten his brother and carrying out similar pranks.

His family had previously been devastated after Brad’s mother died from cancer in 2010 with Brad visiting her daily in St Anne’s Hospice during her three month stay there.

His father Bryn told the inquest Brad rarely spoke about his mother but seemed a happy boy who coped well.

Mr Rothwell said: “He would only ever talk about his mother if I asked him. I had been concerned about the change to High School but he settled in well and I wasn’t aware of any problems at all. He liked football and outward bound trips, enjoyed watching TV and spent lots of time on his laptop and mobile phone. I thought and thought about things but nothing comes to mind at all.”

Mr Rothwell said Brad had seemed closer and more loving with his family in the weeks leading up to his death, but he thought this was part of growing up and he didn’t seem worried about anything.

Mr Rothwell told the court that on May 23, Brad returned from school and he took him tea and biscuits as he usually did. He told him to tidy his bedroom. He confiscated Brad’s mobile phone to ensure the chores were done but did not shout and Brad was not unhappy as this had been done several times before. He went out on a work related errand with Brad’s brother. They returned home around 19 minutes later and found Brad.

His family attempted to give CPR but the ambulance crew pronounced him dead on arrival.

An investigation by Greater Manchester Police found no suspicious circumstances or third party involvement in Brad’s death, and there was nothing significant on his computer and no note.

Recording a verdict of accidental death Area Coroner Alan Walsh described the suffering of Brad’s family as “unimaginable”. Mr Walsh said: “Brad carried out the act that caused his death but could not have known the impact it would have or how dangerous it was.”

Mr Walsh said: “Rarely have I dealt with an inquest with such tragedy and sadness. The fact that Brad’s mother died two years ago when he was nine and he had gone to see her every day in the hospice, it is unimaginable what might well have gone through his mind.

“He couldn’t talk about it which tells me he might well not have got it out of his mind and was dealing with it in his own particular way. He was a model pupil at his school and a son who you would have been proud of. He was clearly an important member of the family during his short life.

“On the day there was nothing untoward and I believe what Mr Rothwell did would be expected of any parent, he is an exemplary father and could not have prevented what happened.

“Brad was mischievous at times and enjoyed carrying out pranks and putting items of his own on You Tube as part of his enjoyment of life. However I find no evidence of intentions and I will record this was indeed an accident.”