Staff at Debden Park High School have paid tribute to a 12-year-old student who was killed in a deliberate hit and run.

Emergency services were called shortly after 3:20pm yesterday, (Monday, December 2) to Willingale Road, Loughton, following reports of several pedestrians struck by a silver Ford Ka.

Two 15-year-old boys, one 13-year-old boy, one 16-year-old girl and a 53-year-old woman were also confirmed to have been hit by the vehicle near Debden Park High School.

None are believed to have life-changing or life-threatening injuries and were either treated at the scene or taken to hospital.

Sadly, the 12-year-old boy, a student who attended the secondary school, died in hospital yesterday.

Essex police have since launched a murder investigation and arrested a 51-year-old in connection to the incident.

The following statements were uploaded to Debden Park High School's website:

Christian Cavanagh Executive Headteacher said: "On behalf of the School and the Trust we send our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of this young man.

"A young life so tragically lost.

"This young man had made his mark on the school and was liked and loved by staff and students. We will consult with the family and our school community to decide how best to commemorate his life.

"As we continue to work with the police on the investigation I am unable to say anything about the incident itself, but I can tell you that staff from the school were on hand immediately.

"School is open to students today, should they wish to attend. This is so they can support each other to grieve, be supported by staff and have access to trained counsellors.

"Thank you."

Headteacher Helen Gascoyne, said: "As a school and a community we are devastated to say that as a result of the incident in Willingale Road this afternoon, it is with great sadness that we must report that a 12 year old student from our school has sadly died.

"Our thoughts are with the family and all those affected.

"As a school we continue to work with the police supporting the ongoing investigation. The school will be open tomorrow with a number of counsellors on hand to support our community."

Essex Police are urging anyone with information, dash cam footage, or who may have seen anything on social media that they think could be crucial, to call them on 101 and quote incident number 726 of 2 December.

Those who have information but wish to remain anonymous can call Crimestoppers in complete confidence on 0800 555 111 or by submitting a report through their website.