‘Schoolboy possibly dead by time police called on his family’

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A teenage schoolboy who was reported missing when he didn’t arrive home may have already been dead by the time police came to see the family about their concerns, an inquest heard.

The great aunt of 13-year-old Lewis Eddleston, who was the youngster’s legal guardian, had reported him missing a couple of hours after he didn’t come home for his curfew.

But by the time police arrived at her home in Doncaster, at 2am the following morning, it is likely the tragic teenager would have already succumbed to hypothermia after falling into a ditch in a field.

Doncaster Coroner’s Court hears Lewis had been with friends near some fields close to his home on November 4, 2012.

Unbeknown to his guardian Diane Eddleston, the schoolboy was mixing with boys who were older than him and was often drinking alcohol, the inquest heard.

At around 7.30pm the youngster had been drinking lager with friends when he had gone out to the field to go to the toilet, leaving his phone and house door key with a friend.

The court heard that was the last time the teenager was seen alive.

Mrs Eddleston told the court how she was not aware he was drinking and did not know the older friends he was hanging out with.

Lewis had been found lifeless by a passer-by in a drainage ditch on the field filled with shallow water.

It was three days after he had been reported missing. He was declared dead at hospital at 11.05am on Wednesday, November 7.

A pathologist report showed he had died as a result of drowning and hypothermia.

The inquest continues.