Head of Scotland Yard apologises for linking teenager's death to laughing gas

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe described Alistair Calvert’s death as a 'terrible outcome'

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The Independent Online

The head of Scotland Yard has apologised after wrongly suggesting that a teenager died after taking laughing gas at a party. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe described Alistair Calvert’s death as a “terrible outcome” during a discussion on the use of nitrous oxide and whether it should be outlawed. A post-mortem examination later concluded that the teenager, from Sidcup, Kent, died of natural causes in July last year.

The family said it had always known he had not taken nitrous oxide nor drunk excessive amounts of alcohol. The family has since raised £8,000 for a charity that runs a screening programme to prevent heart deaths among the young.

Sir Bernard met with the family last week to apologise for the distress caused after the force initially said nitrous oxide and alcohol could have been used. “On behalf of the Met I extended my condolences to the family and apologised for upset caused by the statements we made about Alistair’s death,” he said.

The family said in a statement: “We will continue to raise awareness for the need for routine heart screening in young people.”