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Friday, November 6, 1998 Published at 18:51 GMT


Suicide probe after boy found dead

Dario's death is the latest in a series of apparent child suicides

A pupil at one of the country's top state schools has been found shot dead.

The 15-year-old boy was found with a gunshot wound to the head at his west London home on Tuesday evening. A suicide note is believed to have been left nearby.

Dario Iacoponi attended The London Oratory in Fulham, west London - his fellow pupils include Prime Minister Tony Blair's children Euan, 14, and Nicky, 12.

'Happy at school'

The school's headteacher, John McIntosh, expressed his shocked and sadness at the news.

"He was an extremely able boy and he got on well with other pupils and his teachers and was extremely happy at school," he told London's Evening Standard newspaper.

"Everyone is extremely shocked and sad about it. We feel very much for his parents and friends."

Police were called to the teenager's home in Ealing, west London, at 2230 GMT after the body was discovered.

The boy - an only child - was found in an upstairs room by the family's 20-year-old female lodger. His parents were away at the time.

Serious head injuries

A police spokesman said Dario had sustained serious head injuries.

"A shotgun was found next to the body. The victim's parents were not at the address at the time.

"A post-mortem held at Ealing mortuary on 4 November established the cause of death as a gunshot wound to the head."

Detectives investigating the shooting are not treating Dario's death as suspicious. A letter found next to the body will be forwarded to the Coroner.

The shotgun used in the apparent suicide is believed to be a licensed firearm belonging to the boy's father.

A Coroner's inquest will held in due course, added the Yard spokesman.

Series of suicides

This is the second time in recent months that the London Oratory School has hit the headlines after some of its pupils allegedly terrorised and robbed people travelling on a bus.

And the death is the latest in a recent series of apparent child suicides.

Earlier this week, an inquest heard how a choirboy was driven to hang himself by school bullies who burned him with cigarettes, attacked him in class and branded him a homosexual.

Darren Steele, 15, was found by his mother hanging from a cord tied to a window in his bedroom at the family's home in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire.

In August, an inquest decided 13-year-old Kelly Yeomans, of Allenton, Derby, killed herself with a painkiller overdose after she was bullied for being overweight.

And that same month, A-level student Tony Dwyer, 18, of West Bridgford, Nottingham, fell to his death from a multi-storey car park a week before getting his exam results.

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