A public school boy has been found dead at his home after allegedly shooting himself with his father’s gun, it emerged today.
Charlie Booth, 16, was discovered at 10.30pm on Friday, in Cobham, Kent when police were called to the address.
Police confirmed a teenage male had been found dead at the scene, before sources reported he had taken his own life with his father’s gun.
Following the shock death the headmaster of Charlie’s exclusive private school led tributes to the youth, who was a talented sportsman.
David Craggs, head of £10,000-a-year Gad’s Hill School, near Rochester, Kent, said its pupils and staff were “united in grief” by the tragedy.
He revealed the sad death to a whole school assembly this morning.
Mr Craggs said: “I am sure you will all react with shock and deep sadness at this news.
“Charlie was after all a remarkable young man, who had such a bright future ahead of him.
“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.
“It is at times like this – to quote recent comments by President Barack Obama – we will all hug our own children a little closer over the next few days.
“Charlie joined Gad’s in our Junior School and soon proved to be an outstanding student, contributing greatly to all areas of school life, demonstrating huge talent on the rugby and football fields and successfully competing for Gad’s in cross-country events.
“He was an excellent ambassador for our School, an NCO in the School’s Combined Cadet Force and was due embrace his passion for adventure and his love for the outdoors on a once-in-a-lifetime school expedition to Alaska this summer.
“Charlie was able to distinguish himself above other cadets, showing great strength, initiative and leadership, and he was a great friend to so many.
“Charlie was a friendly, enthusiastic, mature and self-confident student with so much to live for – attributes that make this tragedy even more difficult to comprehend.
“He will be greatly missed.
“His loss leaves his family, our School and the wider Gad’s community in mourning and struggling to make sense of what has unfolded.
“We have kept the School opened today as a mark of respect to Charlie and his family and to also to unite in grief, helping and supporting his classmates and friends who may have been affected by his sudden death.
“Charlie’s legacy will live on in our fond memories of him and in the eternal love of his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his friends today.”
A spokesman for Kent Police said: “We can confirm we attended an address in Cobham at 10.30pm and a 16-year-old boy was pronounced dead.”
Gad’s Hill School, Kent, which is based in the former Georgian home of world-renowned author Charles Dickens, was named as the country’s top independent school in 2011.
Tragic Charlie lived with his father Nicholas, 52, and mother, marketing assistant Julia, 48, in a large #300,000 country home in Cobham, Kent.
Local resident Mrs Ann Greenstreet said: “I know the family through the sports fields, Charlie’s dad Nick is really involved in the cricket club.
“It is terrible news, quite shocking – it is awful to think something so terrible can happen to some one so young.”
The day before his death Charlie tweeted about his up and down moods.
On March 7 @Charliebooth18 said: “Swear I get in shit moods for no reason at the moment! Need to sort myself out.”
The tweet follows a succession of tweets from late February where the school boy claimed “@Charliebooth18 I don’t now why I feel like this.” and “Everything seems to turn into an argument.. :/.”
Charlie and his friends sat a Maths exam last week and he was preparing for his GCSE exams in the summer.
Close friend Eliza Rogers wrote on Twitter: “#RIPcharliebooth you touched so
many people’s lives!
“Your friends are so strong! Amazing how Gads comes together in situations like
Eliza added: “Think that this years leavers vs stayers should be attended by anyone who can make it!
“To make it special and show respects for Charlie!”
Millie Martin wrote: “Charlie look as us here, laughing, joking and behaving like idiots! You were one of my best friends and i love you”
HollyTblack wrote: “We may have lost him but we hav’nt lost all our memories #StayStrong”
And added: “Always rains the hardest on those who deserve the sunshine.”
Lindsay Narbeth wrote: “Such as sad story to wake up to. R.I.P Charlie, you and your cheekiness will never be forgotten! Sleep tight <3 #gads”
Charlie was a member of Gad’s Hill School’s Combined Cadet Force which trains pupils in a range of military activities including shooting, survival training, rock climbing and taking part in assault courses.
His efforts at the cadet weekend at the Army’s Lydd Firing Range in Kent last year were praised in the Gadshillian newsletter.
The events, according to the newsletter, included “weapons training, rock climbing and archery”.
Cadets took part in 25m shooting range practice with semi-automatic L98A2 rifle, capable of 60-rounds-per-minute.
The newsletter stated: “Adventures included the popular assault course, weapons training, rock climbing and then shooting rounds on the 25-metre range.
“Charlie Booth proved himself as a pro on the assault course.”
The gun is believed to be licensed and Kent Police say they not making any inquiries into the ownership of the weapon.
A spokesman for the South East Coast Ambulance Service yesterday (Mon) said: “We can confirm we were called to a private address at around 10.30pm on Friday.
“Sadly the patient died at the scene.”
On twitter tributes from classmates described their shock and loss.
Louis J Lovell @loujlovell said: “Horrible news. In tears and complete shock-
RIP Charlie Booth, gone but never forgotten.
“Just want to wake up from this nightmare xx”
Joe Lawrence @JoeLawrence24 said: “RIP Charlie, you’ll be missed but never forgotten son xx”
Simon Till @Simply_Till said : “RIP Charlie Booth. A great friend from primary school and I used to love going round in the summer. Your in a better place now bro <3”
Kelly Austin @Kellaustin added: “Rip charlie booth, gone but never forgotten!”