Kyle Rees death: Portchester school mass brawl probed

Pupils and police at the flower tributes outside Portchester School
Image caption The number of flower tributes outside Portchester School has been growing

Reports that the death of a 16-year-old Dorset schoolboy happened after a playground mass brawl are being investigated by police.

Kyle Rees died after apparently being hit with a cricket ball at Portchester School, Bournemouth, on Monday.

A 16-year-old boy arrested on suspicion of manslaughter has been released on bail while enquiries continue.

A pupil from the school told BBC Radio Solent that the fight, involving "30-40 kids", broke out at around 14:00 GMT.

The pupil said two groups threw footballs, tennis balls, cricket balls, shoes and chairs at each other.

He said some youths were also punching each other in the playground.

'Ten teachers'

"We don't have any idea why it started in there, it was just random copycat violence and then all turned into something quite serious," he said.

"It took about five minutes for anyone to actually realise what was going on, and it took ages for them to actually start breaking things up.

Image caption Tanya Cooper said her son Kyle was "the light of her life"

"It took at least 10 teachers before things started to cool down. It was so big.

"We haven't been told a great deal about what happened.

"[Police] have cordoned off the whole playground area and are looking at CCTV."

Dorset Police said the fight was "one line of inquiry" in the investigation but stressed they had not yet received any other authoritative report of what happened during the fight.

They said the cordon had now been lifted.

Kyle's mother, Tanya Cooper, said the whole family was devastated at their loss.

She said: "He was the light of our lives, he was our everything.

"I would like to thank everyone for their kind words that they have written about him."

Counselling and support

Kyle was taken to Bournemouth Hospital.

He was then transferred to Southampton General Hospital in a critical condition, where he died on Tuesday.

The school is offering counselling and support to pupils.

Det Ch Insp Kevin Connolly, of Dorset Police, said: "The investigation into the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of 16-year-old Kyle Rees continues.

"Teachers and pupils who were at the scene continue to assist us with a number of lines of enquiry which are subject to investigation."

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