Hero mum tells how she tried in vain to save Harley Watson after Essex hit-and-run

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Harley Watson died after a vehicle ploughed into children who were leaving Debden Park High School in Loughton, Essex (PA/Instagram)

A mother who desperately tried to save 12-year-old boy Harley Watson after he was mowed down outside his school has spoken of her heartbreak as she tried to save him.

Sonia Lard described how she held Harley’s hand as he lay dying on the ground, telling him to hold on and that “Christmas wasn’t far away”.

Schoolboy Harley later died in hospital after a vehicle ploughed into children who were leaving Debden Park High School, in Loughton, Essex, at 3.20pm on Monday.

In an emotional Facebook post, Ms Lard wrote how she did not want to leave the youngster following the incident, which also saw six others - including five children - injured.

Sonia Lard described the moments after the crash (Facebook)
Harley died in hospital after the crash outside Debden Park High School in Loughton (PA)

She said: “I held his hand trying to reassure him. We said to hang in there, that Christmas wasn't far away.

“But he didn't say anything. A police officer and then paramedics arrived. We didn't want to leave him, so a teacher who knew him stayed and we sat stroking his legs.”

Ms Lard said several other people had tried to save Harley following the hit-and-run.

She added: “An off duty fireman, a school teacher, myself and another trained first aid tried so hard to save the boy who took the most impact… taking turns administering CPR and then once the first response arrived all I could do was hold this boy’s hands and try to comfort him as any mother would.

“We couldn't save him… he died. I can't tell you all how I feel right now but the thought of his mother and family who are having to deal with this heart wrenching painful situation sickens me… I pray that the almighty help comfort all those affected.”

Murder probe detectives believe the suspect may have planned a similar attack nearby moments earlier (PA)

Harley’s family have said they are "devastated" after the death of their "good, kind, helpful and lovely boy”.

In a short statement released through Essex Police, Harley's family said: "We are so devastated by what has happened.

"Harley was a good, kind, helpful and lovely boy.

"We would like to thank everyone for their kind wishes and concern. However as a family we would like people to respect our privacy and allow us to grieve in peace."

A 51-year-old man was arrested in a vehicle in the car park of the Merry Fiddler pub in Fiddlers Hamlet at 11pm on Monday, and remains in police custody on suspicion of murder, six counts of attempted murder and one of causing death by dangerous driving.

A 51-year-old man, was arrested in a vehicle in the car park of the Merry Fiddler pub in Fiddlers Hamlet at 11pm on Monday (PA)

He is also accused of six offences of causing serious injury by driving, failing to stop at the scene of a collision and driving without insurance.

The arrest came after detectives appealed to find Loughton man Terry Glover in connection with the incident.

Murder probe detectives believe the suspect may have planned a similar attack nearby moments earlier after they received reports of a car mounting the pavement near Roding Valley High School in Loughton at around 3.10pm.

Tearful parents and pupils laid dozens of floral bouquets near the entrance to the school (PA)
A football inscribed with handwritten messages was left in tribute (PA)

Scores of well-wishers have begun donating to a GoFundMe.com fundraising page in his memory, which has so far raised more than £30,000.

The Rector of Loughton, Reverend Chris Davies, spent Tuesday morning at Harley's school as tearful parents and pupils laid dozens of floral bouquets near the entrance.

One, from a friend named Edith, said: "Dear Harley, I will miss you so much! Forever be in our hearts. Fly high.”

A football inscribed with handwritten messages including "sleep tight little man", and "little man with a big heart" was also left in tribute.

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