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Tears for skip blaze victim.

Byline: By Bryn Littleton

Tearful family and school friends gathered yesterday to bid a final farewell to a teenager who died in an horrific skip fire.

Over 100 grieving mourners paid their respects at the emotion-charged funeral service of 15 year-old Michael Temperley.

The Joseph Swan Comprehensive student, from Low Fell, Gateshead, died at the town's Queen Elizabeth Hospital on July 15, hours after his burning body was discovered in a skip behind stores on Team Valley's Retail World.

The funeral was held in Wesley Memorial Methodist Church, in Low Fell, barely two miles from where he was fatally injured.

Teenagers held bouquets of flowers as they consoled each other on the steps of the church before Michael's body arrived in a white coffin.

The coffin lay alongside white floral tributes spelling out "Michael" and "Temp", the nickname used by his friends.

His grief-stricken mother, Linda, was comforted by husband Howard as they followed the coffin into the packed church.

They were followed by Michael's brother, Richard, and other relatives.

The teenager's burning body was discovered in a skip behind Halfords'Team Valley store on the evening of Tuesday July 15.

Emergency crews had been alerted by a member of the public who saw smoke billowing from the skip, but it was not until they arrived that they realised Michael, of Oakwood Avenue, Low Fell, was inside.

He was pulled from the blaze, but died hours later at Gateshead's Queen Elizabeth Hospital with his family at his bedside.

An inquest into his death was opened this week in Gateshead by the town's coroner, Terence Carney.

During the five-minute inquest opening, Mr Carney read out the results of the post-mortem, which revealed that the youngster died after inhaling smoke and fumes in the skip.

* Two youths, aged 15 and 16, have appeared before Blaydon Youth Court charged with manslaughter and the case was adjourned to Gateshead Court in September.
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 2, 2003
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