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Boy, 14, dies after TV ‘kick’ goes bad
Almost two years after he was rescued from his abusive relatives, who had locked him in a dog kennel as punishment, a 14-year-old boy died on Tuesday from head injuries he sustained while “play- fighting” with a fellow resident at the St Michael Home for Boys. Police said Brandon Hart-Greaves was playing with a teenage resident in a hallway at the children’s home around 8.45 pm when he attempted a “dropkick” on his sparring partner.
Hart-Greaves’s amateur attempt at the professional wrestling manoeuvre shown on TV backfired and he fell over and hit his head on the concrete floor, rendering him unconscious. The other boy immediately informed Clair Thomas, a supervisor at the institution, who contacted police.
Police and emergency health services personnel arrived on the scene and took Hart-Greaves to the St James Medical Facility for treatment. The teenager was transfered to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where he succumbed around 10.25 pm from his head injury. Investigators questioned Hart-Greaves’ friend but said they did not believe he was culpable in the death.
Hart-Greaves and his family shot into the public spotlight in July 2012 after police found him locked inside a dog kennel at their Upper Valley Road, Cascade. He told police that the night before he was accused of misbehaving, was refused dinner, beaten and locked inside the kennel with the family’s pet dog. Eventually, his father, Nigel Hargreaves, 42, his stepmother, Nasha Baboolal, 34, and his uncle Kendal Baptiste were arrested by police.
Hargreaves and Baptiste were charged with cruelty to a child under Section 3(1) of the Children’s Act while Baboolal was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm. They were each released on $50,000 bail. As part of that case, still ongoing in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates Court, Hart-Greaves was made a ward of the State and sent to live in the institution. In a press release yesterday, the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development described his death as unfortunate.
“The ministry is particularly saddened because the child was showing great progress since being placed in the institution in 2013,” the release added. It also said the ministry would provide counselling for staff and residents who were left traumatised by the teen’s death. The ministry also ensured the investigation into the matter would be completed in a timely manner.
In an interview yesterday at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, one of Hart-Greaves relatives, who identified himself as the boy’s uncle, said he believed conditions at the home had played a part in the teen’s death. “That place not nice. It needs to be seriously addressed and revamped,” the man said. Insp Thomas of the Western Division is leading the investigation into the death.