Essex hit-and-run: Devastated woman tells how she held Harley Watson's hands as he died

4 December 2019, 08:30

Harley Watson, 12, died after the hit-and-run outside Debden Park High School
Harley Watson, 12, died after the hit-and-run outside Debden Park High School. Picture: Essex Police

By Megan White

A devastated woman has told how she held the hands of a boy struck in a hit-and-run outside a school in Essex as he died.

Harley Watson, 12, was killed outside Debden Park High School on Monday as he left school and died at the scene from his injuries.

A 51-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after the incident, which also injured four teenagers and a 23-year-old woman.

Local mum Sonia Lard has now revealed how she tried to save Harley, giving him CPR and holding his hands until the emergency services arrived.

In an emotional Facebook post, she wrote: “Yesterday my worst nightmare came true Iman was involved in a hit and run along with other pupils outside his school because a heartless coward deliberately mounted the pavement and knocked the kids down.

“Alḥamdulillāh he is ok and only suffered a slightly bruised shoulder.

“I can’t explain it. There were kids on the pavement crying, hurt.

“An off duty fireman, a school teacher, myself and another trained first aid tried so hard to save the boy who took the most impact, taking turns administering CPR and then once the first response arrived all I could do was hold this boys hands and try to comfort him as any mother would.

“We couldn't save him… he died. I can't tell you all how I feel right now but the thought of his mother and family who are having to deal with this heart wrenching painful situation sickens me. I pray that the almighty help comfort all those affected.”

Essex Police has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) based on previous contact between the force and the man arrested.

Floral tributes left outside Debden Park High School
Floral tributes left outside Debden Park High School. Picture: PA

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

In a short statement Harley’s family said: “We are so devastated by what has happened.

“Harley was a good, kind, helpful and lovely boy.

“We would like to thank everyone for their kind wishes and concern.

“However as a family we would like people to respect our privacy and allow us to grieve in peace.”

Harley Watson, 12, was killed and five others were injured
Harley Watson, 12, was killed and five others were injured. Picture: Instagram

In a statement released on Tuesday, DCI Rob Kirby said Essex Police were informed of a separate incident of a car mounting the pavement near Roding Valley High School just ten minutes before the Debden Park incident.

He said: "The incident near Roding Valley High School, believed to have happened in Brook Road, was reported to us after it became widely known we were dealing with a serious collision in Willingale Road.

"Our investigations have led us to establish that there may be connections between that incident and the one which has led us to establish a murder investigation."