Mystery of boy, 15, found dead upside down in snow with family desperate for answers
EXCLUSIVE: Alfie Lawton’s family have called for people who may have been with him when he died in South London to come forward, after the 15-year-old’s death on the coldest day of the year
By Milo Boyd
- 14:58, 25 FEB 2021
The family of a 15-year-old found dead upside down on a snowy hill believe witnesses might be able to help unlock the mystery of how he died. Alfie Lawton was discovered near railway lines in New Malden, South London just before 7pm on Monday, February 8. After a long search the teenager had been found by members of the public, lying with his head at the bottom of a steep bank, his family have said. He was unresponsive at the Green Lane Recreation Ground and – despite the best efforts of police, paramedics and members of the public – could not be revived. A post-mortem exam found no drugs or visible signs of injury on his body, although the Met says it is waiting for full toxicology results. Alfie had told his mum Sarah that he was going to meet friends several hours earlier the first time he’d gone out in months, because the great-grandma he’d been shielding was in hospital with Covid. From speaking to witnesses in the park, the family believe at least one of the people he’d met was with him when or just before he died. “We know who he was with when he died, we have established that with various witnesses,” Sacha, his cousin, told The Mirror.
She said she thought if Alfie’s friend had seen what happened and called for help Alfie would probably be at home and back to normal now. Alfie had religiously stuck to the lockdown rules since November in order to protect his great-grandma. When the 84-year-old fell ill with the disease and was hospitalised, his mum Sarah thought “you know what, nan has covid, you’ve been in the house watching me cry for a week, off you go and get some fresh air Alfie”.
At 3.30pm, two hours after he went out, Sarah started to get worried because Alfie wasn’t responding to her or his sister, which was out of character for the Southborough High School student. According to Sacha “all indications” are that he died around 5pm, when the family would usually be having tea. In the two weeks since the family have been able to rule out death by drugs and suicide thanks to information from the post-mortem. “He was upside down in the snow on a bank,” Sacha said.
“It was steeper than a staircase, you need to virtually crawl to get up it. We were working on the basis that he had somehow fallen down the bank. We have heard now there is no clear sign of death, so he hasn’t fallen out of a tree.”
Members of the public helping to search for Alfie came across him at around 6.45pm and the emergency services responded at 6.59pm. “It was the coldest day of the year,” Sacha said.
“When he was found a paramedic was overheard saying he was 22C. There was a massive effort to revive him. It was bitter. It was still snowing. The place in the park where he was found was secluded and tucked away.”
Alfie’s family have been completely rocked by the death of the teenager, who was “very ambitious and clever.” “He was just funny,” Sacha said.
“A really funny kid. He used to sing the Only Fools and Horses theme tune and he was always pulling pranks. A friend told us he dressed up in all the girl’s stuff when they went out shopping to make them laugh. He was the one that was going to turn the family into millionaires. When we got his phone back we found out he had a real estate folder on it. His eye was firmly on the future and it was going to be bright. Everybody liked Alfie. He was beautiful inside and out. Everyone we have come across loved him.”
The pain of Sarah, Alfie’s dad Josh, sister Jordan and brother Freddie and their large extended families has been intensified by the mystery of his death. Sacha said: “He has gone to the park one day and he hasn’t come back, and there are no visible signs of him being attacked. Alfie didn’t kill himself. We think something medical has happened. We just want answers.”
She said if any of Alfie’s friends knows anything she would encourage them to come forward with anything they know. There have not been any arrests in relation to this case. Detective Inspector Andy Griffin said: “Alfie’s family, and their community of neighbours and friends are struggling with the grief of losing such a wonderful and vibrant young man. Police are actively investigating the circumstances that led to Alfie’s tragic death, which currently remains unexplained. We need as much information as possible to assist our enquiries, and answer the questions the family has about what happened to Alfie on that day.”
The police said all efforts are being made to trace any witnesses, people with information or people who were in or near Green Lane Recreation Ground between 2pm and 7pm February 8. Anyone with information that could help with police enquiries is asked to call 101 or tweet @MetCC quoting ref CAD5562/08FEB21.