Inquest opens into schoolboy deaths as family pays tribute

A coroner has described the deaths of two teenagers who died in a horror crash in Morley as a ‘terrible tragedy.’
Florial tributes and messages at the scene of a fatal car crash on Gelderd Road, Morley.Florial tributes and messages at the scene of a fatal car crash on Gelderd Road, Morley.
Florial tributes and messages at the scene of a fatal car crash on Gelderd Road, Morley.

George Wharton, 14, and Rhys Baker, 13, who are both from Morley, died after the accident on the A62 Gelderd Road on Saturday March 7.

David Hinchliffe, West Yorkshire Coroner, opened the inquests at Wakefield Coroner’s Court this morning (Monday).

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Sgt Carl Quinn, from West Yorkshire Police’s Major Collision Enquiry Team, said the boys were rear-seat passengers in a Peugeot 206 travelling at speed on the A62 towards Gildersome roundabout at around 1.50pm.

LOSS: Rhys Baker.LOSS: Rhys Baker.
LOSS: Rhys Baker.

Sgt Quinn added: “The car was on a slight left-hand bend and is reported to have overtaken a vehicle and during this manoeuvre it lost control having to negotiate a slight bend in the road.

“As control has been lost the vehicle started to rate 180 degrees and impacted with a tree just to the back of the driver’s door.”

Mr Hinchliffe adjourned the inquests pending further enquiries by the police.

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He said: “This is a terrible tragedy for all concerned. It would be my desire if I can hear both inquests at the same hearing.”

George Wharton.George Wharton.
George Wharton.

Two other passengers, 14-year-old Kameron Walters, and Joshua Van Veen, 15, as well as driver Tom McMeekin, 21, remain in hospital after suffering serious injuries.

The inquest opened as the family of George Wharton spoke for the first time, thanking everyone for the tributes that have been left for their son.

George’s mum, Sharon Hull, said her son was “adored” by his family.

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She said: “George was a clever, cheeky and bubbly young man – always singing and humming everywhere he went.

“He loved life and lived every minute to the full. We adored him and we will all miss him terribly.

“This past week has been a nightmare, made ever so slightly easier by the warm messages of friends, family and total strangers alike.

“I would like to thank everyone for their best wishes, cards, flowers and donation. The family would also like to take this time to thank the Morley Academy and West Yorkshire Police for their continuing support.”

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Investigations into the incident are continuing and police have called on the public to refrain from speculating about what happened.

Meanwhile, an appeal has been launched to raise money to support George and Rhys’ family following their deaths.

George’s brother-in-law, Ieuan Solanki, who set up the online appeal, said: “People spend time planning and saving for their own funeral, but they don’t plan to bury their child.

“I am aware from personal experience how expensive funerals can be and I wanted to help alleviate the financial pressure during this period of mourning.

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“I know that the community in Morley and the surrounding areas are all feeling the pain, and many people want to help both families in whatever way they can - it is my hope that this fundraising page will provide an opportunity for those people to do so and leave a message for the families.”

To contribute visit and search for ‘George and Rhys’.

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