A schoolboy with a severe dairy allergy died after another pupil “threw cheese” at him at school.
An inquest heard that 13-year-old Karanbir Singh Cheema, known as Karan, suffered a serious allergic reaction after the cheese slice was flicked at him in June 2017.
Karan was severely allergic to wheat, gluten, all dairy products, eggs and nuts. He was also asthmatic and suffered from atopic eczema.
The inquest heard that one of the teenager’s fellow pupils at his school in Greenford, West London, knew he had a dairy allergy and gave another boy the piece of cheese, saying “Karan is allergic to cheese”.
The other boy then threw the cheese at Karan who went into anaphylactic shock.
Staff tried to administer piriton and an epipen, but shortly after paramedics arrived Karan stopped breathing. He was rushed to hospital but died ten days later on July 9.
Speaking from behind a screen at the inquest at Poplar Coroners’ Court, the boy who flicked the cheese - now 15 but who was 13 at the time - apologised to Karan’s parents saying: "I didn’t mean any harm - I’m sorry, I’m sorry for what I did.”
The boy who handed the cheese to his schoolmate said although he knew Karan had a dairy allergy, he didn’t know cheese was dairy.
“At the time I didn’t know dairy was cheese - milk and yoghurt, I would say that was dairy,” he said.
The boy said he thought Karan would “get a rash or have a fever or something” but didn’t know his allergy was as serious as it was.
The inquest heard the boy who threw the cheese would throw food at other pupils “daily” and had thrown a banana skin at someone earlier that day.
The boy who flicked the cheese claimed he didn’t know Karan was allergic.
“I think it landed on the left side of his neck,” he said. “After that Karan just told me ‘I’m allergic to cheese - I apologised then after that.”
Asked why he flicked the cheese, he said it was “usual behaviour” in Year 8.
Andrew Hogarth QC, representing Karan’s family, suggested to the boy that there was difference in statements made at the time and what he had said in the inquest and asked if he and the other boy had agreed on what to say, but he denied it.
A statement from Karan’s mother Rina was also read out about his allergies.
She said her son was “diligent” about his allergies and skin condition and was in good health the morning he died.