December 2, 2019 8:49:49 PM
A murder probe has been launched after a 12-year-old boy was killed as a car ploughed into children near an Essex school.
Four teenagers, who are thought to be pupils at Debden Park High School in Loughton, and a 53-year-old woman were also injured in the hit-and-run collision.
Helen Gascoyne, the school’s head, said the community is “devastated” by the death of one of its students.
Police are searching for a silver Ford Ka believed to have been involved in the crash in Willingale Road and are trying to identify the driver.
Inspector Rob Brettell of Essex Police’s serious collision investigation unit said there is likely to be some damage to the front of the car.
Police were called to the scene shortly after the end of the school day, at around 3.20pm on Monday.
Essex and Herts Air Ambulance medics assisted staff from East of England Ambulance Service, while members of the public also gave medical help at the scene.
A 12-year-old boy was taken to hospital where he died, while two 15-year-old boys, a 13-year-old boy, a 16-year-old girl and a 53-year-old woman were also hurt.
Essex Police said they were treated at the scene or in hospital and their injuries are not believed to be life-changing or life-threatening.
Detective Chief Inspector Rob Kirby said: “This has been a truly shocking incident and my deepest sympathies are with all those involved.
“I would like to thank the many members of the public who have called us with information and spoken to our officers, as well as those who provided crucial medical assistance at the scene.
“I would urge anyone with information, dashcam footage, or who may have seen anything on social media that they think could be crucial to call us on 101 and quote incident number 726 of 2 December.”
Mr Brettell said on Twitter it is likely to be a “prolonged and serious investigation”.
Debden Park is a mixed academy school for pupils aged 11 to 18, which specialises in the performing arts and received a rating of “outstanding” in its most recent Ofsted inspection, according to its prospectus.
A statement from Ms Gascoyne said: “As a school and a community we are devastated to say that as a result of the incident in Willingale Road this afternoon, it is with great sadness that we must report that a 12-year-old student from our school has sadly died.
“Our thoughts are with the family and all those affected. As a school we continue to work with the police supporting the ongoing investigation.
“The school will be open tomorrow with a number of counsellors on hand to support our community.”