Boy’s death could have been ‘prank gone wrong’

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THE heartbroken parents of a schoolboy found hanged in his bedroom believe his death could have been an April Fool’s prank gone ‘horribly wrong’.

An inquest on Wednesday into the death of 15-year-old Lance Bassett heard he loved to play practical jokes and seemed perfectly happy just hours before he was found dead on March 31.

His mum Ann, of Old Roar Road, said she discovered Lance in his bedroom. He had been doing some maths homework when she came up to tell him supper was ready.

She said: “My first reaction when I saw him was that he was teasing and to tell him to stop it.”

Mrs Bassett touched Lance and quickly realised it was not a prank.

The inquest heard an apparent suicide note was left by the schoolboy, who went to Claverham Community College in Battle.

But Mrs Bassett said she believed it was tongue in cheek.

She said: “It’s only with the passing of time that we begin to become more and more of the opinion this terrible tragedy was a practical run through for an April Fool’s prank that went horribly wrong.

“Knowing him as we did we know that his character did not match someone who would commit suicide.

“He showed no signs of sadness nor distress and we don’t think he could have hidden such stress.”

She said on the day he died her son was talking about an upcoming school prom and the school’s dress-up day.

Mrs Bassett said: “I asked Lance’s friends if there had been any change in his demeanour in the last days and weeks and they all said no.

“I also spoke to Lance’s teachers and they said there was nothing different about him in any way.

“We had several visits from his friends and they all found it hard to believe he had taken this action himself.

“Whenever he was concerned and worried he would ask for a hug.

“Lance was eating normally and active in family life and was planning his future right into the last hour before he died.”

Coroner Alan Craze recorded an open verdict saying he thought Lance’s death was a ‘probable suicide, not a proven one’.