Dorset boy died after being punched after house party

Jack Gudge died after being punched outside 

A teenager who died after a street fight was knocked to the ground by just one punch before being kicked on the floor, an inquest heard. 

Jack Gudge, 17, was knocked unconscious during the brawl in Bournemouth, Dorset. He later died in hospital.

At an inquest into the boy’s death today, witnesses said the boy was booted around ‘like a football’ as he lay on the ground. 

A post-mortem examination found that he had sustained a brain injury on the night of the fight, though the exact cause of death was unclear.  

Weymouth Magistrates’ Court heard that he had been drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis with others at a house party in the hours before the confrontation in July last year.

They left the party, in Moordown, at around midnight before meeting up with other people they knew on Wimborne Road, Winton. 

A witness, who cannot be named, told the court that he saw Jack punch another boy, who had pushed him, before someone else punched Jack in the mouth.

Jack’s girlfriend, Nicole Kearley, said her boyfriend ‘flopped like there was no weight in his body, downwards, not forwards or backwards’, the BBC reported.

He landed in the road before two other men kicked him in the head, a witness told the court. Another said three other men kicked Jack’s legs.

Jack’s mother Jolene Keenan said in a statement that she was woken up at around 1am by a call from his ‘hysterical’ pals who told her he was lying on the floor and not breathing.

She added that her last words before her son left to the party that night were: ‘I love you. Be safe.’ 

Three men aged 27, 24 and 23 and a 15-year-old boy were initially arrested on suspicion of murder but police later confirmed no one will face criminal charges.

Jack became involved in a fight outside a Tesco Express in Bournemouth (pictured)

Jack became involved in a fight outside a Tesco Express in Bournemouth (pictured)

Hundreds of mourners attended Jack’s funeral on November 3, where he was buried in a bright blue coffin designed to look like an Adidas shoebox. He had a flower arrangement spelling his favourite word ‘Chav’. 

Just a few days after the funeral one of Jack’s friends, 16-year-old Ciara Witt, who had held him in her arms as he lay unconscious, took her own life in her mother’s garage.

A separate inquest last month heard she had taken Jack’s death very badly, with one friend describing it as the ‘last straw’ in her troubled life. 

Dorset Police said an investigation into Jack’s death had concluded.

The inquest is due to last three days. 

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