Schoolboy Shot Himself After Being Warned By Police About Sexting Messages

A schoolboy shot himself in the head with a shotgun he'd been given as a birthday present hours after being spoken to by police about sexual text messages he had sent to a girl.

An inquest heard that Charlie Booth, 16, was found dead at his home in, Cobham, Kent, by his parents on March 8.

Hours before his death, police had been called to the house about the text messages and officers gave 'words of advice'.

Detective Sergeant Lee Neiles, of Kent Police, told the inquest: "She (the girl) wanted them to stop. Nick (Charlie's father) gave him words of advice and they went to KFC in Valley Drive in Gravesend and Nick said he (Charlie) had to be careful about contacting young girls.

"They had a KFC but Charlie seemed withdrawn."

They returned home where Charlie lived with his father Nicholas, 52, mother Julia, 48, and 12-year-old sister Harriet and he went to his bedroom.

At about 10.30pm, his parents heard a loud bang from upstairs. They found him on the floor in the corridor.

Police and ambulance crews were called immediately but Charlie was pronounced dead at the scene.

Coroner Roger Hatch said he had no alternative but to record a verdict of suicide after Detective Sergeant Neiles told the court Charlie shot himself with the intention of killing himself.

He said: "This is on the basis Charlie had a shotgun and knew the power it possessed and Charlie was extremely worried about getting into trouble regarding the text messages.

"The note in his jogging bottoms appears to be a suicide note.

"Everybody chipped in to to buy him the gun and he was over the moon.

"He was totally responsible and was trusted by people to handle a gun.

"He used to go out shooting with his dad. He was a typical country boy. He never drank, apart from the occasional cider with his dad."

A tribute issued by his father Nick, 52, mother Julia, 48, and sister Harriet, 12, at the time of his death said: "As a son he was a very loving boy who had a very supportive family, not just his parents, but his aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.

"He thought the world of them and we all thought the world of him.

"He was just a typical country boy who enjoyed school life, loved outdoor pursuits and he fully embraced the country lifestyle.

"Charlie was one in a million, very popular and well-liked, and was quite simply our beautiful boy."

Charlie was described as a remarkable young man by his headteacher at the prestigious £10,000-a-year Gad's Hill School in Higham, Kent, set in the former home of Charles Dickens.