Harley Watson: Tributes to boy, 12, killed in hit-and-run crash outside his school

John Dunne, Anthony France, Liam Coleman, Julia Atherley

Tributes were paid today to a 12-year-old boy killed in a hit-and-run crash outside his school as parents described the “gut-wrenching” moment a car veered into children.

Harley Watson suffered fatal injuries and six others, including five pupils, were hurt when the silver Ford Ka mounted the pavement by the school in Loughton, Essex.

Horrified parents saw children “flung into the air” outside Debden Park High School at 3.30pm yesterday.

Harley was treated by paramedics at the scene but later died in hospital.

None of the other casualties — two 15-year-old boys, boys aged 12 and 13, a 16-year-old girl and a 23-year-old woman — suffered life-threatening injuries, police said.

Flowers and tributes at the scene near Debden Park High School, in Loughton (PA)
Flowers and tributes at the scene near Debden Park High School, in Loughton (PA)

Terry Glover, 51, from Loughton, was arrested following a public appeal and was today being questioned on suspicion of murder, six counts of attempted murder and one of causing death by dangerous driving.

He also faces charges including causing serious injury by driving, failing to stop at the scene of a collision and driving without insurance.

An address linked to Glover was being searched today.

Detectives are also investigating reports of a car having mounted the pavement outside another nearby school minutes earlier.

One of the floral tributes left at the scene (PA)
One of the floral tributes left at the scene (PA)

Michelle Burrell said her seven-year-old daughter had “seen things no child should see”. She added: “We were there just after the incident as people tried to help ... we feel so sorry for the boy’s family.”

Pupils laid tributes at the scene. One card read: “Sleep tight, Angel”, another said: “Dear Harley, I will miss you so much forever in our hearts.”

A mother, whose daughter sat next to Harley in class, said: “She is distraught and doesn’t know what to do with her herself. Our children are not safe. It could have been my child dead.

“She was with Harley during the day. He was a lovely, funny boy.”

The scene of the hit-and-run in Loughton (NIGEL HOWARD ©)
The scene of the hit-and-run in Loughton (NIGEL HOWARD ©)

A mother described the “gut-wrenching” scene witnessed by her son as pupils streamed out into Willingale Road at the end of the school day.

She wrote on Facebook: “My son called me in shock. He came out when it had just happened and saw the ambulance performing CPR. I feel sick from sadness.”

Christian Kavanagh, Debden Park’s executive head, added: “We offer our heartfelt condolences to the young man. A young life so tragically lost.”

Last night, a candlelit vigil was held at nearby St John’s Church.

Chief Superintendent Tracey Harman said: “There is no wider threat to the public at this time.”

Anyone with information should call 101 quoting incident 726 of December 2 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.