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Teen dies after accidentally hanging self

Published: 
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Marilyn Richards-Daniel recounts the incident leading to the discovery of her grandson Luke Rolle's body hanging from a tree. Insert: Luke Rolle, who was found hanging from a tree.

What should have been a fun school vacation for 15-year-old Luke Israel Rolle ended tragically on Tuesday when he was accidentally hung while swinging on a tree.

Rolle, of Springvale, Claxton Bay, was enjoying the company of cousins at his grandmother’s Forres Park home around 11.3o am when the tragedy happened.

The children went to a samaan tree atop a hill, several hundred metres behind the house. According to police, the children were accustomed playing on a swing made from nylon rope, which was attached to a tree branch.

While swinging, Rolle slipped and his neck got caught in the rope.

The form four student of the Marabella North Secondary School was taken to the San Fernando General Hospital by ambulance, where he was pronounced dead. Couva police, including Supt Curtis Paul, Sgt Honore, Cpl Pierre and WPC Corban went to the scene. So far, investigations have suggested that his death was accidental.

There was silence among Rolle’s cousins yesterday as they were left traumatised.

Their grandmother Marilyn Richards-David said she complained about the children swinging on the rope before but no one took her seriously. The rope has since been cut and none of the children have returned to the area.

Richards-David said that Rolle had just returned from purchasing bread at a nearby parlour and told her that he wanted to go up the hill to meet the other children. When they were finished, Rolle stayed behind to have “one last swing.”

While he was there, his mother, Elizabeth Richards tried calling his phone to tell him to come home.

When he did not answer, Elizabeth called Richards-David.

“I sent my other grandson Elijah to call him. He came back and told me that Luke was swinging and not answering. His mother called again so I sent my granddaughter to go tell Luke to come now because his mother was calling him. She came back down and told me Luke was swinging and not answering. She said he had the rope under his neck,” Richards-David said.

Even at this time, Richards-David said she did not believe anything was wrong and even the children did not see that Rolle was in distress.

Now upset, Richards-David went to fetch Rolle herself with the intention of giving him a good scolding. But before reaching the tree, Richards-David began screaming.

“When I was going up, I saw him still and his foot was not touching the ground. I called out to him because it was not looking like he was dead. I thought he had just put the rope there and was playing.

“When I called him three times and he did not answer, I bawled and ran to hold him. My other grandson ran up the hill and took him down.”

Paramedics had detected a pulse but Rolle was dead by the time he reached the hospital.

Richards-David said everyone was confused as to what happened but maintained Rolle’s death was accidental and not suicidal. She described him as a happy, well loved and well behaved child.

“I know for sure that it was not suicide. He was well treated and he was a very nice child.”

An autopsy yesterday said he died of a broken neck.