Sheffield mum’s agony over death of son, 13

Fatal event: Suicide was ruled out in the death of Ritchie Allsop.
Fatal event: Suicide was ruled out in the death of Ritchie Allsop.

A THIRTEEN-year-old boy’s tragic death by hanging may have been an accident – after he knotted an old school tie around his bunk bed to use for pull-ups.

An inquest into the death of Sheffield schoolboy Ritchie Allsop heard he regularly put his head and legs in the loop for up to a year before the tragedy.

His weeping mum Lisa Brown told the Sheffield hearing: “He used to put his legs and neck in it, do pull-ups. It had been there a while.”

A 16-year-old pal, who was a regular visitor to the family home, also remembered seeing the school tie attached to his bed.

He added: “He used the tie to do pull-ups on. It’d had been there for about a year or something. He was hyperactive, constantly talking about out and nowt,” Lisa said. “He had lots of friends. He’d just moved school but he had settled in well. If something was worrying him, he’d have spoken to me about it.”

Assistant deputy coroner Louise Slater ruled out suicide after Ritchie’s mum and his friend described the teen as a ‘lively, energetic’ young man who had never shown any wish to harm himself.

Lisa came home from work and discovered her son unconscious in his bedroom on School Road, High Green, Sheffield.

She wept as she recalled coming in from a shift at The Barrel pub opposite the family home to find her son.

Paramedics were called, but the Ecclesfield School pupil was pronounced dead at Sheffield Children’s Hospital less than an hour later.

Ms Brown said Ritchie had been involved in a row with his younger sister Skye, who was 11 at the time, but that was ‘nothing out of the ordinary’.

She said: “I’d texted Skye to tell them to come over to the pub and we’d have tea together. She turned up about five to six and said she and Richard had been arguing.

“They’d often row, but there was nothing that made me think this had been heated. I went straight home to see what had gone off. I went straight to his bedroom.”

A post-mortem examination carried out on Ritchie, who was born in Barnsley, found the cause of death was hanging.

Throughout the day of his death Ritchie, a BMX biking fan, had been exchanging texts with his 16-year-old friend and trying to make plans for the weekend.

Following his death South Yorkshire Police contacted teachers at Ecclesfield School to investigate whether the youngster had been bullied.

Det Con Gary Henshaw said: “His teachers and learning mentors described him as happy and outgoing. His laptop and mobile phones were examined and there was nothing which caused us any concern.”

Recording a narrative verdict, Mrs Slater said: “Richard Allsop died as a consequence of suspension by ligature at his home.

“There is no indication of how he came to be in this position, and intention remains wholly unclear.”