In Brief

Daniel Chambers: Devon schoolboy ‘froze to death after missing bus’

Semi-clothed body of 15-year-old found on marshland following three-day search

A 15 year-old Devon boy died of hypothermia after missing his bus to school on an extremely cold and wet day last year, an inquest has heard.

Daniel Chambers disappeared after leaving his home in Tipton St John on the morning of 13 December last year. He was reported missing by his mother later that day. 

Witnesses who saw him on the morning he vanished said he was “in a little world of his own and talking to himself”, says the Daily Mail.

Following an extensive police search, Daniel’s semi-clothed body was discovered three days later on marshland close to the River Otter.

Whisky was found in his backpack, and subsequent tests showed his blood alcohol was over the legal drink drive limit, The Independent reports.

An inquest at Exeter’s County Hall this week heard that Daniel’s phone and one of his trainers have never been recovered. 

Assistant coroner Lydia Brown told the inquest that severe hypothermia can cause loss of rationality and nerve damage that results in the sufferer feeling extremely hot. As a result, they may take off items of clothing, known as “paradoxical undressing”.

“On the balance of probabilities, he died from exposure and becoming confused,” she said. A verdict of accidental death was recorded.

Detective Sergeant Charlotte Heath said Daniel’s death was “truly tragic”, adding: “It was very, very cold during that week.

“There are a number of areas where there is a lot of water at that time of year.”

Daniel’s parents, who are both teachers, said in a statement that he was “all you could have asked of a son”.

“He was kind, clever, thoughtful, caring and loving and made us all smile with his fun loving nature. He was a beautiful person in every way.”

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