Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Gun death boy 'one in a million'

The family of Charlie Booth, 16, found dead in his home in Cobham, described him as a one-in-a-million son. (PA/Kent Police)

The family of a 16-year-old schoolboy who died after apparently shooting himself in a suspected suicide have paid tribute to a "one-in-a-million son".

Police were called to Charlie Booth's home in the village of Cobham, Kent, at 10.30pm on Friday but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

It is understood he used a gun owned lawfully by his family and his death is not being treated as suspicious.

The teenager, who leaves behind parents Nick, 52, and Julia, 48, and 12-year-old sister Harriet, was described as a "typical country boy", his family saying in a statement: "As a son he was a very loving boy that had a very supportive family, not just his parents, but his aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.

"He thought the world of them and we all thought the world of him. Charlie was one in a million, very popular and well-liked, and was quite simply our beautiful boy."

News of the Year 11 pupil's death was broken to classmates at assembly at independent Gad's Hill School, based at the former home of Charles Dickens in Higham.

As relatives paid tribute, it emerged that Kent Police had contact with Charlie's family relating to "an incident" on the day of his death so due to the contact, the matter has been referred to the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), for investigation.

Charlie, regarded as a talented sportsman, was described as an "excellent ambassador for our school" by his headmaster, David Craggs, being a keen member of the Cadet Force and representing the school at cross-country, rugby and hockey.

He had previously played rugby for Gravesend RFC and was also a cricket enthusiast. He helped raise several thousand pounds through events to fund a school trip to Alaska in July.

Mr Craggs said: "Our first thoughts are for Charlie's family and I can say with confidence that they have the heartfelt support and condolences of the whole Gad's Hill community."

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