Lightning kills boy, 14, as thunderstorms hit Britain

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A 14-year-old boy was killed and four women injured when they were struck by lightning as thunderstorms battered Britain yesterday.

A 14-year-old boy was killed and four women injured when they were struck by lightning as thunderstorms battered Britain yesterday.

The boy, Joseph Wharton, was thought to have been camping in the garden of a house in Bloxwich, near Wolverhampton, West Midlands, when he was hit by a bolt of lightning at about 7.50am. He was taken to Walsall Manor Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Superintendent Bob Bird from the West Midlands Police said: "Although the boy had been camping with his friend, he was on his own at the time the incident occurred."

In the evening rush hour, four young women were injured in a lightning strike in Hyde Park, central London. One of the women stopped breathing and was taken to hospital. There was no word on her condition last night.

The other three were reported to have suffered spinal injuries and were also taken to hospital. One witness said that as many as six people were lifted into the air by the strike.

Much of England was hit by violent storms as the heatwave that had engulfed the country over the past few days turned to torrential rain. Drivers were warned to take care on roads as conditions worsened.

The heaviest rainfall was recorded in central and southern England in mid-afternoon yesterday.At BBC studios in White City, west London, a ground-floor studio in which the current affairs programme Newsnight was to go to air had to be evacuated after minor flooding. The programme's presenter Kirsty Wark and other staff moved to another studio within the building.

Brendan Jones at the PA WeatherCentre said: "It will be turning fresher across the country over the next 24-36 hours, but it's going to be a slow process. There will be thundery showers for the next 36 hours, especially in the east."

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