Doncaster boy,13, found dead in ditch

Lewis Morley - known as Lewis Eddleston
Lewis Morley - known as Lewis Eddleston

A teenage schoolboy was found dead in a ditch three days after he was reported missing from home, an inquest heard.

Lewis Eddleston, aged 13, from Wilberforce Road, Clay Lane, died from drowing and hypothermia and may already have been dead by the time police officers visited his family.

His great aunt and legal guardian Diane Eddleston, reported him missing two hours after he missed his 9pm curfew on Sunday, November 4 2012. His body was found in a ditch near his home three days later.

The inquest heard popular Lewis had been drinking lager with friends near his home in Wilberforce Road, Clay Lane, when tragedy struck.

Diane told the court she was unaware he had been mixing with older boys and drinking alcohol.

At around 7.30pm Lewis, who was unsteady on his feet, went into the field to go to the toilet.

It was the last time he was seen alive.

A friend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told Doncaster Coroner’s Court they went out looking for Lewis but when he failed to reply they assumed he’d gone home.

Diane said: “He didn’t come in for 9pm and I gave him the benefit of the doubt, waiting until 10pm. I phoned the police at 11pm.”

They attended at 2am.

The court heard Diane and her husband Norman, of Wilberforce Road, Clay Lane, had raised Lewis from the age of two.

He had spent the first weeks of his life in prison with his mother.

Diane said: “He never came in on time. He was always pushing it. But he was never that late.

“I was always grounding Lewis because I couldn’t get him to do his homework but he always went to school.”

The court heard word of Lewis’ disappearance got around his school on Monday 5 and his friends mounted a search.

On Wednesday morning the family were told Lewis’ body had been found in a drainage ditch filled with shallow water.

Pathologist Dr Philip Lumb said he died from drowning and hypothermia.

“It is hard to say how long it takes to die from hypothermia. 
“Someone who falls into cold water could die immediately, although it could take a few hours.

“We can see he still had high levels of alcohol and if he had died later you’d expect the levels of alcohol to drop.

“Alcohol can cause hypothermia as it makes your veins dilate, which means you lose heat much more rapidly. 
“It also stops you from shivering, which protects you from the cold.”

Lewis’ birth parents, Belinda Errington and Dean Morley, a driver, were also in court.

The inquest continues.