Cleckheaton: Nine year-old boy dies in freak garden accident

Flowers mark the scene of the tragedy. Picture: Ross Pary Agency
Flowers mark the scene of the tragedy. Picture: Ross Pary Agency
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A NINE-year-old boy has died after getting tangled in a play rope attached to a tree in his garden in West Yorkshire.

Josef Kazzan died in hospital two days after the incident at his home in Cleckheaton.

His neighbour, Steve Rhodes, said he and Josef’s mother had desperately battled to save the schoolboy with mouth-to-mouth and heart massage. But Josef’s life support was switched off at Leeds General Infirmary on Tuesday, with his family by his side.

The youngster was a keen footballer and played in the Under 10s team at Drighlington Juniors.

Simon Duckworth, 39, manager and secretary for the team, said the incident happened on Sunday, July 15 as Josef played on the 20ft weeping willow tree which sits in the back garden of the family home he shared with dad Ahmed, mum Rachel Cullen, 42, sister Nadiah, 15, and brother Sam, five.

Mr Duckworth said: “Josef had been playing in the garden - he had come in for his dinner then gone back out. After a while they couldn’t hear him, and he’s always on the go so if they couldn’t hear him something was up.

“They went out to look for him and his mother found him. There’s a tree in the garden with a big thick rope which had been put up for him to climb.

“There’s a loop at the bottom and we think he climbed up, trying to hoist himself up using the loop, but he slipped and fell, getting his neck trapped.

“When his mum found him, his dad called the ambulance, and on the way to the hospital they managed to get his heart started again.

“But at the hospital the doctors told Josef’s parents that even if he did survive he may not be the boy he used to be.”

Mr Duckworth added: said: “I knew Josef for about three years. He was a really good kid. He did what he was told. He had a little mischievous streak, a glint in his eye, but if you told him to do something, he did it.

“He was a tenacious defender, and he loved playing. I didn’t realise how much he loved it until I spoke to his father after the accident.”

Josef was a pupil at St Patrick’s Primary School in Birstall.