'Cheese prank' kills Indian-origin boy in west London

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'Cheese prank' kills Indian-origin boy Karanbir Cheema in west London
'Cheese prank' kills Indian-origin boy Karanbir Cheema in west London

London : An Indian-origin boy with an allergy to dairy products has died after suffering a severe reaction to a piece of cheese allegedly forced on him in his school, prompting an investigation by the Metropolitan Police.

Karanbir Cheema, 13, died on Sunday after he suffered a severe reaction to the piece of cheese at his school in Greenford, west London, last month during a break, the Guardian reported on Tuesday.

It has been claimed the boy was "forced to eat" the cheese but others said it was "flicked at his face" while his mother claimed the food was "rubbed against his neck", according to reports. 

Cheema's mother demanded answers about whether her son was bullied.

A 13-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and was released on bail pending further inquiries and the case was passed to homicide officers.

Cheema's father, Amarjeet, told the Evening Standard newspaper that he was heartbroken. "We were in hospital I had to watch him die, no parent should have to go through that," he said. 

"My son had allergies but he was very careful. He had an allergy to dairy products but was good at avoiding them. I don't see how a piece of cheese hitting him could have killed him. We have been told very little."

A postmortem was scheduled for Wednesday to establish the cause of what the Met described as "an unexplained death".

The head of William Perkin C of E high school, where Karanbir was a pupil, said he was treated immediately in the school before paramedics arrived.

However, the deceased boy's mother Rina demanded answers as to how her son, who led a normal life despite his allergies, had managed to become exposed to the cheese.

She claimed police and the school kept her in the dark about the events which led to Cheema's death. 

"I want answers, I want to get to the bottom of what happened, I will be asking the school if he was bullied but my son was very popular, you could not help but like that child, he never made enemies." 

Cheema was allergic to wheat, gluten, all dairy products, eggs and all nuts and his condition was well-known at school, said the report.

Alice Hudson, executive headteacher of the school, told the Evening Standard that the boy on June 28 had come to the school office to tell staff that he was having a bad reaction to some cheese and staff gave him medication kept specially for him.

But his condition quickly worsened and he was rushed to hospital, she said.

Hudson said: "He had many friends who are devastated at his death, as are the staff. He was a bright and keen student who excelled in maths. Our thoughts and prayers are with Karan's family."