Loughton crash: family pay tribute to victim identified as Harley Watson

Kevin Rawlinson
Photograph: Essex police/PA

The family of a 12-year-old child killed in a suspected hit and run outside a school on Monday have paid tribute to their “kind, helpful and lovely boy”. They spoke as he was formally identified as Harley Watson, a pupil at Debden Park high school.

That came moments after Essex police revealed it had referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) over previous contact between its officers and a man arrested on suspicion of Harley’s murder.

“We are so devastated by what has happened,” said the child’s relatives on Tuesday evening. “Harley was a good, kind, helpful and lovely boy. We would like to thank everyone for their kind wishes and concern. However as a family we would like people to respect our privacy and allow us to grieve in peace.”

Earlier on Tuesday, officers confirmed they had received reports of a car mounting the pavement outside another school a short distance away about 10 minutes before the incident in which Harley was killed.

The force said the first incident, which occurred outside Roding Valley high school in Loughton, was reported to officers “after it became widely known we were dealing with a serious collision” outside the nearby Debden Park high school.

Besides Harley, five other people were injured in the second incident. “Our investigations have led us to establish that there may be connections between that incident and the one which has led us to establish a murder investigation,” Essex police said.

More details soon …