The 12-year-old boy who died after being hit by a car outside Debden Park High School has been named locally as Harley Watson.

The Debden Park High School pupil was taken to hospital after a hit-and-run yesterday afternoon (Monday, December 2) outside his school on Willingale Road, Loughton. He died shortly afterwards.

Two 15-year-old boys, one 13-year-old boy, one 16-year-old girl and a 53-year-old woman were hit by the car. But their injuries were not believed to be life-changing or life-threatening.

Head teacher at Debden Park, Helen Gascoyne, said the community is "devastated" by the death of one of its students.

Epping Forest Guardian:

A woman lays flowers at the entrance to Debden Park High School. Photo: Rick Findler/PA Wire

She said in a statement: "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."

Floral tributes and heartfelt messages were left outside the school.

One card read from Edith read: "Dear Harley, I will miss you so much! Forever be in our hearts. Fly high."

Another card read: "Our deepest condolences for the loss of such a young boy. May he rest in peace."

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Photos: Rick Findler/PA Wire

After the incident, around 50 people attended a service held at St Johns Church in Loughton.

Loughton town councillor Stephen Murray who attended the service described it as: "Very quiet, reflective and prayerful mass.

"Giving people and opportunity to reflect and prayer about today’s tragic events in our town."

Father Sam Stuart confirmed the church will be open today to residents to pay tribute.

Chief Superintendent Tracey Harmanmade issued a statement outside Loughton Police station at around 9.40pm last night.

Epping Forest Guardian:

Flowers left near the school Photo: Hannah Hastings

She said: "At Essex Police, and on behalf of all those called to the school, our thoughts are with his family, his friends and with all those injured or affected by what happened this afternoon.

"This has been an incredibly difficult day for the local community, and we ask everyone to continue to show the kindness and bravery that we have seen today, and to respect the privacy of all those involved.

"We believe that the collision was deliberate and we have launched a murder investigation. We are investigating whether or not this incident may be connected to another incident nearby."

We are running a tribute page to anyone who wishes to share their thoughts and wishes during this awful time.

If you wish to pay your respects, please email Alternatively, call us on 07840 021 696 or 01923 206554