Boy, 10, hanged 'deliberately'

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The Independent Online
THE MOTHER of a 10-year-old boy found hanging by a dog lead from school railings claimed yesterday that her son had been strung up in a deliberate attack.

John Jackson, of Conisbrough, South Yorkshire, suffered brain damage and his condition was yesterday described as 'critical but stable' in Sheffield Children's Hospital. He has not regained consciousness since he was found on Friday and is on a life support machine.

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Brearley appealed yesterday for a youth, aged about 17 and seen on a mountain bike near the scene, to come forward. Police are treating the incident as a case of 'suspicious injury'.

John's mother, Patricia, claimed that it had been deliberate. 'John is old enough to know it would be dangerous to do something like that if he was playing,' she said.

Det Ch Insp Brearley said yesterday that police were examining three theories. He said that it was possible - but improbable - that John had accidentally left himself hanging from the railings of Rowena Infant School; that it could have been a prank that went wrong; and that there may be something more sinister behind it.

Police said John was at home until about 3.45pm on Friday and then went to play outside. About 30 minutes later his brother, Lee, 13, found John hanging from the railings by a dog lead. A local man released him and gave him the kiss of life.

A team of 40 police officers have been making inquiries. The youth they want to talk to was of heavy build and was wearing a black baseball cap. Police also want to talk to two boys aged about nine and 11 seen playing on the roof of the single-storey school.

The owner of the dog lead has been traced. He said it went missing last Thursday.

(Photograph omitted)