Tyne & Wear

Berwick Academy pays tribute to Joshua Smith after cliff fall

A head teacher has led the tributes to a teenager who died after falling from cliffs on the Northumberland coast.

Joshua Smith, 16, a student at Berwick Academy, fell from Spittal Point, Berwick, at about 03:00 BST on Sunday.

Northumbria Police said inquiries were ongoing to establish the circumstances around his death but they believed there was no third party involvement.

Alexis Widdowson, head teacher of Berwick Academy, said he was a "much loved student".

Joshua, who was from the Berwick area, was recovered from the sea and taken to Wansbeck Hospital in Ashington but died there later.

Ms Widdowson said: "Josh was a popular figure both amongst his peers and throughout the wider school.

"His sense of humour and consideration for others was admired by staff and students alike.

"He will be very much missed."

The school will be open for three days this week for students to leave tributes and a book of condolence has been started.

Ms Widdowson said: "At times like this, we become very conscious of how tightly-knit we are as a community."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it was assessing a referral from Northumbria Police about the death.

In a statement Northumbria Police said: "Given the involvement the police had in the search for Joshua a referral has been made to the IPCC in the usual manner.

"This has been done to ensure that the family and friends of Joshua can have confidence the circumstances of his death are looked into fully."

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