Boy,7,may have died after sniffing glue

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The Independent Online
Police are investigating whether a seven-year-old boy found unconscious in the cab of a pick-up truck died from sniffing a chemical used to mend tyres.

If Christopher Smith is found to have died from experimenting with the chemical, trichloroethylene, he will be one of the youngest people to have died from "glue sniffing". It is unclear whether he was abusing the substance or whether it was a prank that went tragically wrong.

North Yorkshire Police are awaiting the results of tests conducted by a Home Office toxicologist. They are understood to be questioning a second boy who was playing with Christopher on the evening that he died.

Christopher was found at the weekend in the disused truck at the permanent gypsy camp in, York, where he lived with his grandparents, Jack and Susan Smith. His father, Chris, 27, who lives in a different caravan on the same site, took him to York District Hospital where he died later the same night.

A tin of trichloroethylene was found beside the lorry and the lid was inside the cab. Mr Smith denied that Christopher was a glue sniffer. "He did not know what he was doing. It must have spilt on his hands and he rubbed his forehead, which caused burns."

Mrs Smith, who found her grandson in the cab after he had been noticed missing, said: "He was laid on his tummy and I was squealing at him to speak to me. His dad came and took him to hospital. He was just a seven- year-old and was looking forward to his birthday in October and was a sporting lad who would not do things like glue sniffing."

Clare Garner