THIS is the dramatic moment cops swooped on a school hit-and-run suspect after he was spotted “sleeping in a pub car park”. Harley Watson, 12, was killed and five other students were injured in a smash outside Debden Park High School in Loughton, Essex, yesterday afternoon. 10 Dramatic photos show police surrounding a car outside…
THIS is the dramatic moment cops swooped on a school hit-and-run suspect after he was spotted “sleeping in a pub car park”.
Harley Watson, 12, was killed and five other students were injured in a smash outside Debden Park High School in Loughton, Essex, yesterday afternoon.
A 51-year-old man, also from Loughton, has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Photos taken from the Merry Fiddlers pub, five miles away, appear to show police surrounding a car at the time of the suspect’s arrest.
Roy James, 68, whose son is the pub’s landlord, told the Sun Online: “My son rang the police. He saw this car while we were locking up.
“All the windows were steamed up and it looked like the bloke was asleep but we didn’t know how long it had been there for.”
Mr James said his son matched the registration number and car to the one circulating on social media before calling the police at around 10pm.
“We have no idea how long he was there for,” he said.
“The hit-and-run happened ten minutes up the road. He could have sped straight from there.”
A similar-looking car reportedly mounted the pavement near Roding Valley High School, just two miles from Debden Park High School, about 10 minutes before the fatal hit-and-run.
Police are investigating if the two incidents are linked.
Tributes have since been paid to young Harley.
His family said tonight: “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 mum, whose daughter sat next to Harley, said: “My daughter is distraught. She doesn’t know what to do with herself.
“She was with him during the day. She said literally hours before they had been together.
“He was a lovely, funny boy. Our children are not safe. It could’ve been my daughter.”
One father, whose daughter was hit by the car, told Essex Live: “A Ford KA mounted the pavement behind her. Her friend was bounced onto the bonnet before another boy was hit very bad.
“The car drove off down the road and the police arrived quickly. My daughter is safe, but the wing mirror clipped my daughter. Her friend got thrown off the bonnet.
“It was awful to witness. Everyone is in shock.”
Essex Police are trying to establish the route that the vehicle took from Debden Park School, in Willingale Road, to the Merry Fiddler in Fiddlers Hamlet.
Chief Supt Tracey Harman said the force is examining a number of inquiries, “including where there has been previous contact between Essex Police and the man we have arrested”.
Anyone with dashcam, CCTV or information should contact Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.