Father offers reward to find bullies who left son with brain-damage


A devastated father is offering a £5,000 reward for information about a bullying incident which he believes left his son permanently brain-damaged.

David Luckett, 52, says his 13-year-old son Ashley’s life was destroyed after he was tripped up by a group of pupils and banged his head last year.

Three days after the incident the active youngster suffered a violent fit which left him unable to walk or speak.

David, from Sampford Brett, Somerset, believes the fall Ashley seizure was caused by the playground fall and is offering £5,000 to find out what happened.

The gardener has been forced to give up work to provide 24-hour care for his son, who is confined to a wheelchair and now attends a special school.

He said: ”Living in this unknown world of what happened to my son, a lovely boy who had a future in front of him, is really difficult.

”I believe that something untowards happened to him that day.  I believe that he was deliberately pushed, and if he had not been injured in that way that this would not have happened.

”I just cannot believe that someone can go from being perfectly well to this happening and I just want to know.

”I hope the money will make people come forward and give me the answers I need.”

”I also would just like to make people aware that any sort of pushing around or bullying of that sort, I want people to know how dangerous that can be.”

Horse-riding and go-karting enthusiast Ashley was only 12 on July 1st last year when he complained to his father that he had been tripped at Danesfield Middle School in Williton, Somerset, and hit his head.

David says bullying was not uncommon for Ashley, and that he was often called names at school.

He said: ”Ashley went to school as normal that day and when I picked him up at half three he said that some children had tripped him up purposefully.

”I said, ‘Have you been to medical?’ and he said, ‘Yes.’

”He said, ‘They were picking on me, dad.’ They used to pull his chair out so when he went to sit down he’d fall down.

”They used to call him names and silly things like that.  Certain children, when I used to pick him up at half three, used to shout things at him.

”I used to go see the headteacher Mr Bradbury and he said, ‘Oh that doesn’t go on here, I can’t make it all out,’ and that’s what his stance is now.

”But it goes on at all schools, and it has done for years.  He says, ‘Well that doesn’t go on at my school,’ but that’s a very ignorant thing to do.”

Three days after he was tripped Ashley collapsed while running a bath and fell under the water.

David broke down the bathroom door and pulled his son’s submerged body from the water to resuscitate him.

But Ashley began to fit violently and had to be taken to hospital by air ambulance.

He spent six days on life support at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital before he came to and was transferred to Bristol Royal Infirmary’s intensive care unit for eight weeks.

He then moved to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, where he spent seven months in recovery and finally returned home on April 19th this year.

Ashley, who wanted to be a pilot or a train driver, still cannot speak or use his lower body, although he has regained some control of his arms and hands.

He now attends Penrose School in Bridgwater, Somerset, a specialist school for pupils with ‘complex additional needs’.

Single dad David, who had to leave his work as a gardener and handyman to become Ashley’s full-time carer, said: ”I feel he has been robbed of his life and I have been robbed of a healthy boy.

”All they put on his medical records is hypoxic brain injury due to a seizure in the bath.

”They don’t know what caused the seizure. They’re just totally mystified as to how he’s still alive or what’s caused it.

”There isn’t any explanation and the school don’t want to talk about.

”Doctors don’t know how far he will recover. He can’t speak or walk and needs round-the-clock care.”

Mr Luckett has lodged a complaint with Avon and Somerset police, which is looking into the incident.

Ian Bradbury, the headteacher Danesfield, said: ”We conducted an investigation into an alleged tripping incident but did not discover any evidence to support Mr Luckett’s concerns.

”As the seizure happened at home, three days after the alleged incident, we are unable to provide any further detail as to what may have caused it.

”Our thoughts are with Ashley and his family and we hope he continues to improve.”


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