David Arnett

Eastbourne Herald

A 12-YEAR-OLD boy hanged himself with his school tie after a teacher caught him with cigarettes.

David Arnett came into his Cavendish School classroom smelling of smoke on December 15.

Teacher Joanna-Clea Burns told him off, confiscated the cigarettes and a lighter and gave him 24 hours to tell his parents.

David told a friend the pain was ‘like a knife in his stomach’ during the walk home to Longland Road after school, and spoke about killing himself.

Dad Robert Arnett told the Eastbourne inquest his son had seemed ‘perfectly normal’ when he returned home. The two had chatted about dinner and David’s mum’s Christmas present.

‘He was not unhappy. He was not quiet. He was not glum. He was his normal cheeky, happy-go-lucky self,’ he said.

David (left) went up to his room but did not return when called downstairs about 40 minutes later.

Mr Arnett said, ‘I went to the bottom of the stairs and shouted. There was no answer, which was normal. I was not really worried at that time.

‘Then I began to go up the stairs. As I was walking up the stairs I saw him and it looked like he was kneeling.

‘I said, ‘What are you doing, boy?’ He was probably semi-kneeling. I thought he was asleep, leaning against the doorframe.

‘The tie was over the door handle. My wife had realised there was something wrong and followed me very quickly upstairs.

‘It was my wife who actually lifted him off the door handle.’

Paramedics desperately tried to resuscitate David and he was rushed to the DGH where doctors continued to try and save him.

He was pronounced dead at 6.30pm.

Mr Arnett said his son had had ‘no worries’ and had enjoyed a happy social life.

‘David was a very outgoing boy. He loved people and loved socialising.

‘He did not like concentrating and always wanted to be out doing things.

‘He would rather be playing his drums or out playing football.’

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