Police launched a murder inquiry yesterday after a boy found inside a burning skip died of his injuries.
Michael Temperley, aged 15, was barely alive when firefighters arrived to put out the blazing container on an industrial estate. In the early hours of yesterday morning he died in the high-dependency unit of Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, with his parents and 19-year-old brother by his side.
Describing it as a "tragic and horrific death", Detective Superintendent Tony Thornton added: "It is difficult to understand how awful it must be for the family, but anybody can see it is tragic. As you can imagine, his family are absolutely devastated."
Two youths, aged 15 and 16, were being interviewed by detectives yesterday after being arrested at the scene.
Workers at the Team Valley retail park in Gateshead called the emergency services on Monday evening when they saw flames coming out of the skip behind a furniture store.
Det Supt Thornton, of Northumbria Police, said: "When the fire services arrived they found that there was a male who was severely injured at that time.
"He was obviously suffering from burns and the effects of smoke and the heat."
Yesterday the area around the large red skip, which has a hinged metal lid, was sealed off for examination by forensic scientists. Three BMX bicycles lay abandoned near by.
The boy lived with his family on an estate in Low Fell, Gateshead.Reuse content