School acts as abuse craze kills pupils: Solvents-and-fire deaths linked

A HEADMASTER in Sunderland will today act to stamp out a bizarre new form of solvent abuse that has led to three deaths.

Monkwearmouth School has been shaken by the deaths of two students and one former pupil, all of whom were found dead in burnt-out buildings.

The police have ruled out foul play, and senior officers are working on the theory that the deaths involved drugs, solvent abuse and experiments with fire.

Jim Farmie, head of the 1,400-pupil comprehensive, will today attempt, with his staff, to forge a new strategy against solvent abuse.

The charred body of David Grieff, 15, was found in a burnt-out shed on allotments off Newcastle Road in Sunderland on Friday night. This followed the death of David Hanson, 15, who was in the same year, whose body was found in a blazing derelict building half a mile away, on 8 February.

The body of Thomas Kelly, 18, a former Monkwearmouth pupil, was discovered on 26 November in a burnt-out shed close to the Newcastle Road allotments. He is believed to have been acquainted with the other victims.

Louise Bramfitt, chairwoman of Sunderland social services, said: 'My first reaction is to sympathise with the families affected by these tragedies, but there is also a need to reassure other parents by perhaps giving guidance about solvent-abuse symptoms.'

Norman Bohill, a Conservative councillor and a school governor, said: 'I am deeply concerned about these tragic deaths. Monkwearmouth is not a bad school - it is probably one of the city's best.'

Detective Chief Superintendent Barry Stewart, head of Northumbria CID, said he was satisfied that foul play was not involved in any of the deaths, but he added that they were sufficiently suspicious to cause concern.

Police have appealed to anyone with information regarding this 'new craze' to come forward. It is thought that some teenagers are using matches or lighters to heat up substances they want to inhale.

The deaths will add to fears that schoolchildren are willing to experiment with an ever-increasing list of readily available solvent products. Re-Solv, the Society for the Prevention of Solvent and Volatile Substance Abuse, says a wide range of household products, including deodorants, hair-sprays and lighter fuel, are abused.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Arts and Entertainment
books New York Times slammed over summer reading list
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine