A 13-year-old Indian-origin boy with a dairy allergy died in the UK after suffering a severe reaction to a piece of cheese allegedly forced on him by a schoolmate, prompting the Scotland Yard to launch a probe.
Karanbir Cheema died on Sunday after suffering a severe reaction to a piece of cheese allegedly forced upon him at school last month during a school break.
Another 13-year-old boy, a school-mate of Cheema, was arrested and questioned over the death which is being treated as a criminal matter.
“The boy, aged 13, was taken to a west London hospital in a life-threatening condition. Police were subsequently called when it became apparent that an incident had occurred which led to the boy coming into contact with the allergen. Those events remain under investigation,” Metropolitan Police said in a statement this week.
“A 13-year-old boy, a pupil at the same school, was arrested on June 28 and interviewed in connection with the incident – he has been bailed to return on a date in late July pending further enquiries.
“The incident was initially investigated by officers from Ealing Borough but has since been passed to the Homicide and Major Crime Command,” the Met Police statement added.
Karanbir, known as Karan, was allergic to wheat, gluten and dairy, eggs, and nuts and his condition was well-known at school.
On June 28, he went to the school office to inform them of a reaction to some cheese and staff gave him medication kept specially for him but his condition quickly worsened and he was rushed to the hospital.
Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London struggled to save his life but he died on Sunday.
His parents, who were by his bedside, are now demanding answers from the William Perkin High Church of England High School in Greenford and questioning exactly what caused their son’s sudden death.
“I want answers, I want to get to the bottom of what happened. I will be asking the school if he was bullied but my son was very popular, you could not help but like that child, he never made enemies,” said his mother Rina, who described Karan as an “angel” and a “selfless boy”.
“My son had allergies but he was very careful. He had an allergy to dairy products but was good at avoiding them. He had a very bright future. There are a million things he could have done with his life. He was a bright, bright boy, kind and gentle. We are just devastated,” said his father Amarjeet.
“I am speaking out because maybe lessons can be learnt. I do not want another family to suffer like this,” he added.
The executive head teacher of William Perkin High Church of England High School, Alice Hudson, said the staff were fully aware of Karan’s allergies and gave him his special medication before paramedics arrived.
“He was able to come to the school office to indicate that he thought he was having an extreme reaction and they were able to immediately administer the normal treatment,” she said.
“In light of this tragic incident, a review of the procedures will be carried out to ensure that the highest level of standards is maintained.”
A statement on the school’s website said: “The school community is deeply saddened by the loss of a Year 8 student who died on Sunday, July 9 at the hospital following a severe allergic reaction.”