Teenager dies from allergic reaction 'after cheese prank'

'He was a bright, bright boy. He was kind and gentle. We are just devastated,' say his family

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 12 July 2017 12:37
Karanbir Cheema, who died from an allergic reaction
Karanbir Cheema, who died from an allergic reaction

The mother of a boy who died after a severe allergic reaction has demanded answers about whether her son was bullied.

Karanbir Cheema, 13, was taken ill at William Perkin C of E High School in Greenford, west London, on 28 June.

He was taken to hospital in a life-threatening condition but died with his parents by his side on Sunday.

The reaction he suffered last month was thought to have been caused by exposure to cheese. His school said it had been in contact with the Cheema family following what it called "unfounded rumours".

His mother, Rina, told the Daily Mail he had led a normal life despite his multiple allergies. She said: “What exactly happened I do not know.

“I want answers, I want to get to the bottom of what happened, I will be asking the school if he was bullied but my son was very popular, you could not help but like that child, he never made enemies.”

When he died, “he had a smile on his face when he went and we prayed until the final second,” she added.

Karanbir's father, Amarjeet, said his death “doesn't make any sense”.

He told the Evening Standard: “We were in hospital. I had to watch him die - no parent should have to go through that. While he was in hospital we were fully concentrated on his condition. Now we want answers. How could this have happened?

“My son had allergies but he was very careful. He had an allergy to dairy products but was good at avoiding them. I don't how a piece of cheese hitting him could have killed him, it doesn't make any sense. We have been told very little.” (sic)

Mr Cheema said his son was an “amazing” student who had talked about being a computer engineer, adding: “We were so proud of him. He had a very bright future. There are a million things he could have done with his life.

“He was a bright, bright boy. He was kind and gentle. We are just devastated.”

Police have arrested a 13-year-old boy on suspicion of attempted murder, the Metropolitan Police said.

A post-mortem examination is due to take place on Wednesday.

A statement on the school's website said: “The school community is deeply saddened at the loss of a Year 8 student who died on Sunday July 9 at hospital following a severe allergic reaction.

“Students have been supported at school in the face of this tragic incident and many good wishes have been posted in the school chapel in memory of this popular and well-liked student.

“The school has kept in close contact with the family, particularly in light of a number of unfounded rumours which have circulated over the past days.

“The student in question had always dealt responsibly with his multiple allergies and medical staff were therefore able to respond quickly with his agreed care plan during the incident on Wednesday June 28.”

Additional reporting by agencies