Man admits killing 12-year-old boy in hit-and-run outside school

By Taz Ali, PA
·4-min read

A man has admitted killing a 12-year-old boy who died following a hit-and-run outside his school.

Harley Watson died at Whipps Cross University Hospital in east London after a vehicle ploughed into children who were leaving Debden Park High School in Loughton, Essex, on December 2 last year.

Terence Glover, 52, previously of Newmans Lane, Loughton, pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility when he appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court by video-link on Monday.

Court artist sketch of Terence Glover
Court artist sketch of Terence Glover (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

He pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder which prosecutor Christine Agnew said the Crown accepted and will deal with when the defendant returns for sentencing.

Glover also pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder relating to 23-year-old Raquel Jimeno and six boys and three girls aged between 12 and 16, who cannot be named due to a court order.

Glover, who is being held at a mental health facility, also admitted driving a Ford Ka dangerously in Willingale Road, Loughton.

Miss Agnew said the defendant had “suffered an abnormality of the mind” at the time of the incident.

“That decision has been explained at length to the parents of Harley Watson,” she said.

Loughton tributes
Flowers left at the scene outside Debden Park High School in Loughton (Rick Findler/PA)

Harley’s mother, who attended court with her partner, sat in the public gallery and wept as Glover gave his pleas to the charges.

Miss Agnew said the parents of the other victims and a member of staff from the school were listening to the hearing from another courtroom.

In the short hearing, which lasted around 15 minutes, Miss Agnew said two psychiatrists will give evidence to the court at sentencing on January 8.

An inquest opening at Essex Coroner’s Court in Chelmsford in December last year recorded Harley’s provisional medical cause of death as a severe head injury.

The inquest heard that the youngster died in hospital just over an hour after he was hit by Glover’s car at around 3.20pm after school ended on the Monday afternoon.

“He was immediately conveyed to Whipps Cross Hospital, where his death was confirmed at 4.43pm,” Essex coroner’s officer Lynsey Chaffe said.

Harley’s family had previously spoken of their devastation after losing their “good, kind, helpful and lovely boy”.

Hit and run outside Essex school
Police search teams in Willingale Road in Loughton, Essex, after the hit-and-run (Rick Findler/PA)

The school’s headteacher, Helen Gascoyne, said a number of events have been arranged to mark the anniversary of Harley’s death on December 2.

These include a two-minute clap in memory of him at an assembly led by a local vicar.

The school is encouraging students to wear something green, Harley’s favourite colour, and to donate £1 towards the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance.

It has also commissioned a local artist to make a sculpture of three friends, which will be installed at the entrance to the school astroturf pitch, given Harley’s “love of football”.

Ms Gascoyne said: “A year on from the tragic events of last year, as a school we are still reeling from the shock of losing Harley and we are determined to turn such a traumatic event into something positive for our students and the local community.”

Thousands of well-wishers donated to a GoFundMe fundraising page which was set up to help Harley’s family cover funeral costs.

It raised more than £61,000.

In a short statement released through Essex Police, Harley’s family said: “We are so devastated by what has happened.

“Harley was a good, kind, helpful and lovely boy.

“We would like to thank everyone for their kind wishes and concern.”

Investigating officer Heather Apen, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “Harley Watson had his dreams and aspirations cruelly taken from him due to the actions of Terence Glover.

“This crime has destroyed a family and impacted an entire community.

“Numerous other victims suffered physical and mental trauma as a result of Glover’s actions that day and, throughout this investigation, have shown continued bravery.

“They, too, have had to go through the events of that terrible afternoon over and over again.

“I want to pay tribute to the immense courage Harley’s parents have shown throughout this investigation and, even though nothing will bring their son back, I hope today’s result today will help them, and the other victims of this terrible crime, to try and rebuild their lives.”