Hanged schoolboy Lance Bassett 'may have planned prank'

A schoolboy may have hanged himself in a "prank that went horribly wrong" while practising an April Fool's joke on his family, an inquest has heard.

Lance Bassett, 15, was found by his mother on 31 March by his bunk bed with a canvas belt round his neck and a handwritten suicide note on the floor.

Ann Bassett said no-one had noticed any change in his behaviour before he died at home in St Leonards-on-sea.

East Sussex coroner Alan Craze recorded an open verdict.

Mrs Bassett told the inquest that despite the suicide note, and knowing her son, he may have been getting everything ready for an April Fool's prank for the following morning.

In a statement, she said: "We are not trying to delude ourselves or to make ourselves feel better. The outcome is the same.

"He showed no signs of sadness in the days and weeks before and we don't think he would be capable of hiding such distress from everyone."

'Probable suicide'

She added: "It would not have been a particularly funny prank but it makes so much more sense knowing his character than to believe he would take his own life."

The cause of death was hanging and toxicology tests were mainly negative apart from a small trace of codeine, the inquest heard.

Recording an open verdict, Mr Craze said Lance's death was a "probable suicide but not a proven suicide".

He said: "I'm left in exactly the same situation as his parents in trying to make my mind up as to whether Lance's death came about as a result of a deliberate effort to end his life."

He added: "I'm not certain that the intention of killing himself was proven."

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