Father thought children were just 'playing dead'

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The father of a teenage girl who hanged herself with her 10-year- old friend after a game went tragically wrong said yesterday that when he first saw them, he thought they were playing a game in which they pretended to be dead.

Stephen Rogers described the moment he went into his 13-year-old daughter Claire's bedroom and found her slumped on the bed with her playmate Daniel Gibbs, 10, standing against the bunk bed. They had a scarf tied around their necks.

Mr Rogers, of Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, said: "They were playing, that is the bottom line. They had been out in the garden playing cricket. They came in for some dinner, had a couple of sandwiches and then went up to the bedroom. We assumed they were playing on the computer and making a camp out of the dining room furniture in the bedroom where they were playing."

He added: "We're devastated. We can't believe it. It is unreal, absolutely unreal." He denied that the children had died re-enacting a scene from the film Robin Hood, A Prince of Thieves.