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DEATH IN THE PLAYGROUND: 'BASKETBALL FEUD' LED TO FATAL CLASH; Boy of 15 'was targeted'.

Byline: PAUL BYRNE and JAN DISLEY

A BOY of 15 died in a school brawl after clashing with another lad during a basketball match, it was claimed yesterday.

The row was said to have spilled into the playground where David Sandham was headbutted. He is believed to have had a fit and died less than an hour later.

Last night two classmates of 14 were being questioned by police at separate stations.

A family friend said: "David was a lovely lad who was never in trouble. His family are very close and will be in total shock. Everyone is stunned."

Education Secretary Charles Clarke told the Commons it was an "appalling incident". He said: "The whole House will share the shock." Pupils claimed David clashed with a rival during the basketball game on Friday. Yesterday the feud spiralled.

Witnesses said the teenager was confronted by two boys in the playground during a free period at Broadoak comprehensive in Partington, Greater Manchester.

David, who is thought to have four brothers and a sister, was butted and hit his head against a wall. He was then hit in the stomach and collapsed. No weapons were used.

Teachers battled to revive him. Paramedics called to the scene used heart massage and the kiss of life. They also tried to resuscitate David with a defibrillator.

But the youngster was dead at Trafford General Hospital. The news was broken to children by their headmaster at a special assembly. A pupil said: "Some were in tears."

A letter was distributed to parents. It read: "The sudden death of one of our students in school today came as a great shock to everyone.

"The circumstances are being investigated. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family." Last night flowers were arriving at David's house, yards from the school gates.

Broadoak is in one of city's most disadvantaged areas. But Ofsted said in 2000 that pupils had good attitudes to work and good relationships.

Labour councillor Ian Platt said: "This is a tragedy for the community. It will have huge impact. Most youngsters in the area go to Broadoak and everyone will know those involved."

Police said: "It is believed the boy may have been in an altercation with another pupil. Officers will be working closely with the school and parents."

A year ago Luke Walmsey was stabbed to death at his school in North Somercotes, Lincs. His killer Alan Pennell, 16, was sentenced to life.

CAPTION(S):

QUIZ: Police question parents yesterday. Right, anguished pupils weep
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Words:419
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