We still think our son was bullied, say parents of tragic Bradford boy Asad

Asad Khan, whose inquest was held in Bradford this week.
Asad Khan, whose inquest was held in Bradford this week.
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The family of an 11-year-old Bradford schoolboy found hanged in his bedroom are to make an official complaint as they refuse to believe their son was not bullied.

The lifeless body of Asad Khan was discovered when his mother forced her way into his room just weeks after he started secondary school in September last year.

Asad Khan reportedly took his own life after being bullied at school. Picture: Guzelian

Asad Khan reportedly took his own life after being bullied at school. Picture: Guzelian

His family do not accept the narrative verdict recorded by coroner Martin Fleming, saying they had been “put on trial rather than treated with any respect as bereaved parents”.

At the conclusion of the inquest yesterday, Mr Fleming maintained that circumstances around his death still remained “unclear”.

He could not say that Asad had been bullied as there was no evidence to support this.

During one of the six pre-inquest reviews in this case, it was revealed that Asad’s student manager, Jane Berry, had told a police officer of a “choking game” that was “all over the school”.

Tragically no-one is any nearer an understanding of this inexplicable death as the coroner refused oral and written submissions to hear evidence from other children who could have cast light on Asad’s state of mind.

Ruth Bundey, solicitor for Asad Khan’s family

The “game” involves children either choking themselves or each other just long enough to be able achieve a short high. The game can involve performing the act in front of a mirror to achieve the “high”.

A mirror which may have been moved from the bathroom was found at the scene of Asad’s death in his bedroom of his home, Bradford Coroner’s Court heard.

His parents had claimed in previous pre-inquest reviews that Asad died after he was bullied at Beckfoot Upper Heaton school, Bradford, and had been forced to do other pupils’ homework.

They also said the youngster had told friends he was being bullied in the days before his death and had “tears coming from his eyes” when he left a local mosque.

Despite concerns from the family, Mr Fleming told the inquest there was “no evidence of systemic bullying” at the school or of “Asad playing the TapOut, or choking, game.”

Mr Fleming said: “Asad was a much loved son from a loving family and his death has devastated the family. He was found in the most distressing circumstances imaginable for a mother.

“The inquest involved many lines of inquiry. There is insufficient evidence to substantiate claims that he was being bullied.

“This was the death of a young boy which is impossible to reconcile and it was only natural to seek investigation.

“The police have been unable to find any evidence Asad was being bullied.

“Asad appears to have been very happy at primary school and during the school holidays and there was no evidence of mental health history or self-harm.

“Had Asad been bullied, he had many circumstances to raise it with family, his school or the mosque.

“There is no evidence I can see of any systematic bullying in the school. I have found no evidence of Asad playing the TapOut or choking game.

“We will never know why the mirror was placed near him at the scene and as such I must form a narrative conclusion.”

Mr Fleming added: “On September 28 2016 Asad was found hanging by a ligature in his bedroom.

“Although it is more likely than not he intended to put himself in the position, his intentions remain unclear.”

The coroner thanked Asad’s family for their attendance in the first five of the pre-inquest reviews in the case and passed on his condolences.

The family were not present throughout the three-day inquest.

A statement released on behalf of the family said: “Asad’s parents have said that this inquest has been extremely distressing for them and they feel as though throughout they have been put on trial rather than treated with any respect as bereaved parents, thus having no choice but to exclude themselves from the inquest itself.

“They have been left entirely disappointed with the whole proceedings and its outcome.”

Family solicitor Ruth Bundey said: “Tragically no-one is any nearer an understanding of this inexplicable death as the coroner refused oral and written submissions to hear evidence from other children who could have cast light on Asad’s state of mind.

“This would not have been speculative, but integral to the process.

“Matters will be taken further by way of judicial complaint, but the family’s loss of their son remains heart-rendingly more acute due to the serious failure of this inquest to examine all of the available and relevant background.

“The inconclusive result of an ‘open’ determination precisely proves this point.”

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