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Schoolboy found dead in bedroom

TRIBUTES have been paid to a "happy and sweet-natured" schoolboy who was found hanged in the bedroom of his home.

SWEET-natured: Matthew Smith
SWEET-natured: Matthew Smith

TRIBUTES have been paid to a "happy and sweet-natured" schoolboy who was found hanged in the bedroom of his home.

Matthew Smith, 12, was discovered by his parents Lynn and Graham at the family home in Oak Street, Great Harwood, on Sunday night. Despite desperate attempts to revive him by the couple, police and paramedics, Matthew was pronounced dead on arrival at Blackburn Royal Infirmary.

Distraught relatives said Matthew's death was a tragic accident that happened after he was sent to his room for being cheeky. They said Matthew, a Year 8 pupil at Norden High School in Rishton, was trying to scare his parents by standing on a windowsill with a belt around his neck, expecting his mother to come in, but he slipped.

Matthew's grandmother Audrey Smith, of Queens Road, Accrington, said: "It was a dreadful, tragic accident. He had been chastised and sent to bed and he must have thought 'I'll show them'. It was an act of bravado - he was always being mischievous like that. He did it thinking his mother would come in and say 'What do you think you're doing?' He knew that she always went into his room before having a bath.

"He was a wonderful, sweet-natured boy who would help anybody. He was thoughtful and affectionate and had lots of friends - they have been dropping into the house all week to pay their respects. It has been a dreadful shock and he will be so sadly missed by everyone."

Matthew's parents described their son as an "outdoor type". He loved climbing trees, swimming and riding his mountain bike, which he received as a present for a good school report.

His mum said: "Matthew's friends meant everything to him and he didn't have a bad bone in his body. He was so loving and caring - he would always give me a kiss and a cuddle. He was a pageboy at his aunt's wedding recently and he looked absolutely beautiful - I used to say he would break some hearts when he's older, but he has broken hundreds of hearts now.

"He touched so many hearts wherever he went - he would always look after his grandparents and bring cakes to the neighbours. He was just a cracking lad who got on with everybody."

Mrs Denise Parkinson, headteacher of Norden, said that Matthew's shocked classmates had held a minute's silence and two separate assemblies for him.

She said: "It has come as an awful shock to us. Matthew was a very friendly and happy young man. He always had a smile on his face and he was a well-behaved, good pupil. He had a lot of friends in the school and he will be very sadly missed by both staff and pupils. Our thoughts are with his family at this time."

Great Harwood councillor Peter Clarke, a friend of the family, said: "It is really tragic. We don't know the full story yet but they are a very decent, caring family. Everyone here is devastated."

Police investigating the tragedy said the death was not being treated as suspicious. Detective Inspector Simon Giles, of Accrington CID, said that a post-mortem was carried out on Tuesday morning and a family liaison officer had been appointed to help Matthew's parents. He added: "The family are absolutely distraught.''

An inquest was opened on Tuesday afternoon when it was said Matthew had been told off for giving cheek and sent upstairs to do his homework. Adjourning the inquest to a date to be fixed, coroner Michael Singleton said he would try and list it as soon as possible, given the "tragic circumstances".

Matthew leaves his parents, brothers Lee, 21, and Steven, 18, sister Joanne, 19, and grandparents Mervyn, Carol and Audrey. His funeral will be held at Accrington Crematorium on Monday at 1pm.


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