Schoolboy whose body was found in woodland died of 'asphyxiation'

Schoolboy, 16, whose body was found in woodland died of ‘asphyxiation’ after he was reported missing by his parents the day before, inquest hears

  • Schoolboy Lucas Webb, 16, was reported missing by his parents on December 12
  • He was found dead in woodland off Covet Lane near Canterbury the next day
  • An inquest opening today heard Lucas, from Barham, died of asphyxiation 
  • For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, or click here for details 

A schoolboy who was found dead in woodland after he was reported missing by his parents died of asphyxiation, an inquest opening heard today.

Police discovered the body of 16-year-old Lucas Webb off Covet Lane near Canterbury, Kent at around 11.30am on December 13. 

Parents Colin and Alison had reported the sixth-form student missing after he was last seen at around 1.30pm the previous day.

But today a brief inquest opening in Maidstone, Kent heard that Lucas, who lived in the sleepy village of Barham, suffocated to death.  

Assistant Coroner for North East Kent Joanne Andrews adjourned the hearing for a full inquest at 10am on April 9 at County Hall, Maidstone.

Lucas’ disappearance sparked a massive emergency response from police, fire crews and search and rescue teams. His friends, former teachers and local villagers even joined the hunt for the ‘talented’ schoolboy.

His parents, Alison and Colin, said Lucas’ death left them ‘utterly devastated’.

A schoolboy who was found dead in woodland after he was reported missing by his parents died of asphyxiation, an inquest opening heard today. Police discovered the body of 16-year-old Lucas Webb off Covet Lane near Canterbury, Kent at around 11.30am on December 13 

Officers found Lucas in an area of woodland near Barham village on December 13

In a tribute released by their parish priest Rev Stefan Thomas on their behalf shortly afterwards, they said: ‘Lucas was a caring, handsome and unbelievably witty son and brother who always succeeded in out-debating any of us.

‘We as a family are utterly devastated at the thought of our beautiful Lucas no longer being with us.’

The couple added: ‘In Lucas’ 16 years of life, he proved that he had a talent for learning and achieving.

‘Highly self-motivated, he adored all things science related and was an inspiration to many of his peers who respected his drive, humour and creativity.’

Rev Thomas of St John the Baptist parish church in Barham also praised the community spirit in the wake of the schoolboy’s disappearance.

He said: ‘I’m very proud with how so many people turned out to search for Lucas. There must have been 150 people, including his friends and former teachers, who were directed by the police.

‘We also opened up the church so the community could come and spend a peaceful moment remembering Lucas and light a candle, which many did.  

‘He was a local boy who was clearly very popular and loved by his family and friends so it has been a great shock to everyone.

‘I have spoken to his family and we are providing pastoral support at this devastating time for them.’  

A major search was launched for the missing 16-year-old as a police helicopter was called and 100 volunteers scoured a Kent village in the search for the missing boy

Lucas was in the sixth form at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury and used to attend Barham Primary School.

In a letter to parents about Lucas’s death, Simon Langton headteacher Ken Moffat said: ‘He is remembered by colleagues as a very amiable and personable young man who was academically talented and a keen contributor to wider aspects of the Langton curriculum.

‘To say that the school is in shock is an understatement. He appeared to have a very bright future in front of him and he seemed to deal with all aspects of school life easily and cheerfully.

‘In time, we will consult with the Webb family to discuss a suitable way of remembering Lucas’ time at The Langton and his contribution to school life.

‘I have written to the family on behalf of the whole Langton community to offer your sympathy and condolences. I know they will be in the very forefront of your minds.’

In a tribute from staff, head teacher Alison Higgins of Barham Church of England Primary School, said: ‘This tragic news has touched our school community.

‘His mum, Alison, worked for the school for many years and his younger sister, Leila, also attended Barham.

‘Lucas will be remembered for his unique creativity and his incredible knowledge of science and technology.

‘He embraced all that the school had to offer. His talent show acts were particularly memorable. Lucas is not someone you forget and he will certainly not be forgotten.’

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, or click here for details.

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