Distraught family pay tribute to their "very gifted" son

THE parents of a 12-year-old boy who accidentally hanged himself with a karate belt have paid tribute to their very gifted son. Alex Gale, of Beaumaris Road, Sawtry had been chatting to his friends on his laptop computer just before he was found died i

THE parents of a 12-year-old boy who accidentally hanged himself with a karate belt have paid tribute to their "very gifted" son.

Alex Gale, of Beaumaris Road, Sawtry, had been chatting to his friends on his laptop computer just before he was found dead in his bedroom by his 14-year-old brother, Ben.

In a statement released on Friday (October 24) Alex's mother Ulrike, father Andrew, and brother Ben, described Alex as "a born actor who kept many people amused and entertained" and whose "liveliness is sorely missed by many".

They added: "He has had a year of great achievements, from a fabulous school report back in July to his black belt in Tang Soo Do and a place at the Young Actors Company in Cambridge. He was a very gifted young man who in just 12 years made his mark in this world."


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Ulrike thanked their friends and Alex's school, Sawtry Community College, for the support they have received.

She said: "It has made a very difficult time just that little bit easier."

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An inquest held in Huntingdon on Thursday heard how Alex had been found hanging from a bunk bedpost in his room at the family home on September 3. A neighbour tried to resuscitate the boy until paramedics arrived, but he died of asphyxia in Peterborough District Hospital a short time later, Coroner David Morris said.

Det Insp Richard Ryan said Alex's computer had Microsoft Network open and he had been chatting to friends and obviously took great pleasure from designing his fantasy website.

The officer said he had found a number of karate belts - the sport was one of the boy's leisure pursuits - in the room. One was in a ligature round his neck, with the other end caught on a pillar of the bunk bed. "It was not what I would have expected to find in a case of deliberate hanging. He was not being bullied, and it was clear he was in a loving and well-cared for family."

DI Ryan confirmed that there was nothing in the room or on the computer that could have been taken as a suicide note, nor had he accessed "sinister websites".

Matthew Binden, head of Year 8 at Sawtry Community College in a statement to the Coroner described a pupil who was "classed as gifted and talented in maths, good at sport and karate - a popular lad who was liked by all the children". He was also good at science and "always one step ahead of the game".

Mr Morris read from Alex's last school report in July, which described him as well-mannered and mature. "In terms of effort, attendance and behaviour, he should be congratulated on achieving grades from good to excellent. He has performed particularly well in maths and science, and has been an enthusiastic participant in many extra-curricular activities."

Recording a verdict that Alex died as the result of a tragic accident, Mr Morris told his father, Andrew, a training manager, and mother, Ulrike, a school worker, that Alex had been "his usual cheerful self" immediately before the tragedy happened.

"It sounds as though he was a great chap, and I'm particularly sorry for you," he told Ben. "Remember the good times," he counselled the family. "He sounds like a fun lad. Remember what a great son and brother he was.

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