Teen RL ace in hanging tragedy

Kieran Johnson
Kieran Johnson

A FAMILY has been hit by the shock death of a teenage rugby star.

Kieran Johnson, son of former Leigh Rugby League scrum half Phil Johnson, was found hanged at his home on Saturday morning. He was 19.

The Lowton teenager, who represented Great Britain Amateur Rugby League at under 23 level, had been out drinking with friends on Friday night when he was found dead the next morning by his father.

The tragic news lead to the postponement of weekend games involving his club Leigh East including the first team’s scheduled British Amateur Rugby League Association National Cup round four fixture at Myton Warriors.

Dad Phil, who is Lancashire Amateur Rugby League chairman, led the tributes to his son who he called “his best friend”.

He said: “Kieran was a lovely lad, he was loved by so many people, this has ripped a hole in the community. He was a massive personality and a happy go lucky character, you just ask yourself why this would happen.”

Leigh East chairman Keith Latham said: “Kieran was a fantastic lad who excelled in rugby and his family is entrenched in the sport. Kieran was a stalwart of the club. The under 18s teams are absolutely devastated, we are all feeling for Phil and all of Kieran’s family at such a tragic death.”

The former St Mary’s High School pupil, an apprentice plumber, made his debut for Leigh East first team at the age of 16. The forward went on to represent Great Britain Amateur Rugby League on a tour of Ukraine last year. More than 200 people visited Leigh Sports Village to pay their respects to Kieran last weekend.

Players of Wigan St Patrick’s and Leigh East will form a guard of honour for Kieran’s dad Phil, step mum Kathryn, brother Connor, step brother James and sisters Emily, Charlotte and Natasha at their match on Tuesday night.