Sports News of Wednesday, 16 December 2015
An 11-year-old boy tipped as a future Manchester City striker accidentally strangled himself with a blanket as he and his younger brother were playing a camping game in their bedroom.
Aaron Asiedu was using the blanket to construct a makeshift hammock from his bunk bed when he fell and became caught up in the material.
An inquest heard how his nine-year-old brother Joshua initially thought Aaron was playing as he lay motionless on the floor at their home in Monsall, Salford, Greater Manchester.
But when he got no response, he screamed for their mother Geraldine, 41, who desperately tried to revive her son. He was pronounced dead in hospital later that day.
Aaron, a star striker with his local side Newton Heath Junior Football Club, had undertaken a two-week trial with City in February and was due to have a trial at Burnley Football Club.
Despite his young age, Aaron – described as ‘sports mad’ – had been tipped for a professional career by his coach at Newton Heath JFC.
The Blues fan, who idolised striker Sergio Aguero, dreamed of playing for Manchester City and had a pair of football boots signed by the player. He was due to start Year 7 in September.
After the hearing, Mrs Asiedu praised her ‘talented’ boy who she said was happy and confident.
‘As a family we are trying to come to terms with what happened. His brother Joshua was very upset,’ she said.
‘His life was so short. It’s so difficult for me to understand why his life was so short. I still don’t find it easy and don’t think I ever will but there’s nothing we can do now.’
An inquest heard the incident occurred in August during the school holidays after he and Joshua had been playing on a trampoline at the family home.
The boys were called back in by Geraldine to clean up their breakfast bowls before two of Aaron’s friends knocked at the door to ask if he was coming out later. He then went upstairs to get changed from his pyjamas.
The hearing was told Aaron then began constructing the hammock from a blanket before tying it between their separate bunk beds.
But when Aaron climbed onto the sheet it came loose and he fell head-first, becoming entangled in the blanket.
Mrs Asiedu told the inquest how at around 2.30pm she heard Joshua screaming: ‘Get up Aaron. What’s happening?’
She said: ‘The way he said “what’s happening?” made me rush upstairs with my daughter Hillary. Joshua was sitting next to him and said Aaron wouldn’t move. I just wanted him to get up but he wouldn’t move.’
She added: ‘I don’t know what they were doing when they were playing. I later found out they made a hammock out of the blanket. They used to do all sorts of things together. They were just boys who loved playing.’
The inquest heard Aaron never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead in North Manchester General Hospital at 3.54pm.
The post-mortem examination showed no evidence of any injury, with forensic pathologist Charles Wilson giving a cause of death as asphyxia.
Recording a conclusion of misadventure, coroner Fiona Borrill said: ‘They were adventurous boys and had been playing outside on the trampoline.
‘He liked to play with his younger sibling upstairs in the bedroom and he was able to confirm that they made a hammock with a blanket and Aaron fell from that.
‘He had fallen from a blanket tied between two bunk beds and asphyxiated. They were playing and it unexpectedly took the turn it has done and led to his death.’
Addressing Mrs Asiedu, she said: ‘Can I offer you my sincere condolences on your tragic loss which must have had an appalling effect on you and your other children.’
Mrs Asiedu said her husband Edward, a salesman, moved to the UK originally from Accra in Ghana. The family – including daughter Hilary, 16 and sons Edward, 15, and Dave, 13 – followed in 2007.
She said her son would take any opportunity to show off his array of footballing medals. He was also a popular member of cricket and cross-country teams.
‘He was a very talented boy,’ she said. ‘Whatever it was – any sport or singing club or music club.
‘But he really wanted to be a footballer when he was older. His prized possession were his boots signed by Aguero.
‘He used to go and get their autographs too and show them off to the family. He was very ambitious.’
At the time of his death, his manager at Newton Heath Ian Laidler said: ‘He’d never been in a team before but we won everything last year and he was a big part of that.
‘I used to say to him “you need to pass the ball” – then he’d just go round five kids and score a goal.’