Isabel Pearce, a 13-year-old schoolgirl from Kent in England, who suffered from a rare form of autism, choked to death on a meatball served at her Ridge View School canteen.
Having eaten the meatball during her normal lunch hour as she did everyday, Isabel never regained consciousness after choking and died in hospital on January 27. She has now been laid to rest.
The girl’s mother, Jane Pearce from Ide Hill, in Sevenoaks, Kent, said her death was incomprehensible,
“It is unbelievable that it could happen. You send your child off to school – to somewhere you imagine is safe. She was in a good place. She was not at all compromised in any way – to any degree – that could have caused this to happen. Her condition did not affect how she was able to swallow. It could not have been further from the truth.”
Due to the suspicion raised by the Pearces, police have opened an investigation into the girl’s death, although foul play is not suspected.
The bereaved mother added, “I still expect to her to come in – I suppose it is something in my brain. On the day it happened she was not ill, she just went to school and never came home. I hugged her. I don’t normally do that. I put her in the taxi that morning. Her hair had been washed and she did look really beautiful.”
A spokesperson for the Kent police force, which is looking into Isabel’s death, told reporters, “Kent Police is currently reviewing the death of a 13-year-old girl and is liaising with the coroner’s officer as part of the coronial process.”
At the same time, Jacqui Tovey, the head teacher at the Ridge View school, offered her sincere condolences to Isabel’s family. “Isabel’s death has been a tremendous shock to us all and our thoughts are with Isabel’s family. The whole school community has been devastated by her death and she will be greatly missed.”