Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Conley Thompson died after 'slipping into pipe'

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Media captionDeborah Fraser says her grandson "slid down into a vertical pipe"

A missing seven-year-old boy who was found dead on a construction site in South Yorkshire slipped into a vertical plastic pipe, his grandmother has said.

South Yorkshire Police said formal identification of the child's body was yet to take place, but it was believed to be Conley Thompson.

He was found at about 08:30 BST in Bank End Road in Worsbrough, Barnsley.

His grandmother Deborah Fraser said the family were "shell-shocked" by his death.

"You know it was raining, he slipped and went straight down. I hate to think what his little mind was going through.

"We know that he's got through a small hole in top of the construction site, and because it's been wet he's slid down and gone into a vertical pipe.

Image caption Conley's grandmother Deborah Fraser said the family had been left "devastated" by his death

"It's not even sunken in now that he's gone. I'm stood next to the place where he died and I'm thinking 'what the hell were you doing, Conley, in a place like this?'

"His brain must have been all over the place trying to get out."

Playing in park

Conley, of Underwood Avenue in Worsbrough near Barnsley, was last seen in Locke Park - a 40-minute walk from home - at about 20:00 BST on Sunday.

He had gone to play with friends at the park and was due to return home, but police were alerted about two hours later when he did not turn up.

Officers are understood to be treating the death as a "tragic accident", the Press Association said.

Mrs Fraser said: "He's been known to go in there [the construction site] before and we've told him not to go in.

"[His mother] is devastated, we all are. We will all miss him, he was a lovely little lad."

Det Ch Insp Dave Stopford said the construction site had been checked overnight but officers had been unable to gain access as it was "securely locked".

He said the force was working with the Health and Safety Executive to establish the cause of death.

About 50 officers were involved in the search.

Image caption Conley's body was found in Bank End Road, in the Worsbrough area of Barnsley

Det Insp Victoria Short, leading the investigation, said: "We deployed our full resources with officers searching throughout the night to find Conley and we are deeply saddened by this tragic development.

"While it is early in the investigation, the death is being treated as unexplained and a post-mortem [examination] will take place in due course.

"Our thoughts remain with Conley's family and friends at this very difficult time."

Mrs Fraser went to the construction site where his body was found to pay tribute to her grandson.

"As a person he was a lovely little lad, boisterous, got into anything and everything but his smile could light up a room," she said.

"He loved dinosaurs, he loved Ninja Turtles, he was just a typical lad... he loved his life. He was a happy little chap."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Floral tributes and soft toys have been left next to the construction site
Image copyright PA
Image caption Finley Bolton, 4, placing flowers next to the construction site

Wayne Bolton, who went to lay flowers with his four-year-old son Finley, said he heard a helicopter being used to search for Conley on Sunday night.

"It's tragic what's happened and it just makes you appreciate what you have. I can't begin to imagine what that family are going through," he said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Conley's death has upset the local community

Cheryl Dunning, whose seven-year-old son Evan was friends with Conley and in the year above him at school, said the discovery of his body was "very sad".

"It makes it worse because he's the same age and everyone knew him," she said.

Evan said they both used to play football together and described Conley as "a bit naughty".

Kelsey Heeley, 17, who lives near the construction site, said: "It's heartbreaking, because he's a young boy. It would be heartbreaking if it were anybody but he had his life to come."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Police said the death was being treated as unexplained

A book of condolence is to open at the nearby St Thomas' Church.

The vicar, the Rev Trevor Keightley, said: "We are all shocked and all our hearts go out to the family and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Police forensic officers analyse the site where the body was found
Image copyright PA

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