Inquest Into Hampshire Boy's Holiday Death

An inquest's heard how 11-year-old boy who suffered from fits caused by panic attacks died on the first day of a family holiday in Greece.

Harvey Ashworth had been suffering for more than a year from the occasional fits which caused his eyes to blink, his limbs to shake and for him to stop breathing for up to a minute, the Portsmouth hearing was told.

The schoolboy, who was keen on cross country running and other sports, was diagnosed as having anxiety issues including about his separation from his mother, Tricia Griffin, who lived in Spain.

The inquest was told that Harvey, who lived with his father, Luke Ashworth, and his second wife Georgia, in Warsash near Fareham would often be affected more frequently by the fits in the run-up to visiting his mother.

But Mr Ashworth said that his son had been relaxed and happy as they headed off to Thesprotia, Greece, for their annual two-week activity break, although he did suffer two minor fits during the coach transfer to the hotel last July.

He said: ''At that stage I genuinely thought they were isolated ones as he wasn't too bad. I didn't think we had any cause for concern.

''He was very, very happy, talking about all the things we were going to do: sailing, open mic, singing Coldplay.''

Mr Ashworth said that when he put his son to bed that night, they went through their normal relaxation techniques to help prevent the fits and Harvey went to sleep quickly.

But at 8am when his wife went to check on Harvey, she found him unconscious and not breathing.

Mr Ashworth said: ''I heard an ear-piercing scream. I didn't bother to put any clothes on, just ran to the other room. All I remember is looking at his front and there were grey bits.''

He said he attempted to resuscitate his son but efforts by himself, hotel staff and paramedics were unsuccessful in reviving him.

Pathologist Dr Adnan Al-Badri said that a post-mortem examination failed to find a cause of death but said that he believed the fits might have been caused by a form of epilepsy.

Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, Portsmouth coroner David Horsley said:

''It is very difficult to understand as Harvey seemed to be such a healthy boy apart from these problems with the panic attacks.

''It may be that some form of epilepsy may have been involved here which had not been diagnosed before he died.

''I do wish we could put a finger on it more accurately than that because it must be very difficult for Harvey's parents for him to die while enjoying himself on holiday.

''I would like to express my deepest sympathies.''