A nine-year-old boy died at home after telling friends he wanted to be with his dad.
Mckenzie Leon Gary Williamson, was found unresponsive in his grandmother’s home in, Blaenau Gwent, south Wales, on the evening of November 7, 2021 – months after his dad Gary had died.
Mckenzie later died at the University Hospital Wales in Cardiff despite the best efforts of grandmother June Knight, neighbour Diane Morris, and many emergency service workers to save him.
At an inquest into Mckenzie’s death at Newport Coroners’ Court on Friday, June 24, June Knight paid tribute to her grandson in a statement,
She said: “Mckenzie was a loving and cheeky little boy. He enjoyed playing with other children. When he started nursery school at three years old he met a lot of friends.”
She said it was as he grew older that the football-loving boy who played as goalkeeper for Abertillery Excelsiors AFC began to show some behavioural problems which were worsened by his father’s passing in the summer before Mckenzie died, reports Wales Online.
She said: “Gary, his father, passed away in the summer and this escalated his emotions but he wouldn’t talk about them and he became very angry.”
His grandmother added that life had become so challenging for Mckenzie that he was moved out of “traditional” school for four days a week and instead attended The River Centre learning community in Tredegar. Staff at the school knew of an incident where Mckenzie had attempted to take his own life while on the premises.
A family friend shared with the court how Mckenzie had “casually” told her he had tried to take his life when she asked how he was in Abertillery town centre in October 2021. A social worker looking after Mckenzie reported that on October 13, 2021, Mckenzie had expressed a desire to take his life. She recalled him saying: “I just want to be with my dad – I just feel like that.”
On the day of his death Mckenzie had played football with friends from the morning until 6pm and then played games on his phone while ringing his mother Emma Knight. The inquest repeatedly heard how it had been a very unremarkable day when Mckenzie had played very well in goal for his team and seemed to have enjoyed his day.
At 7.36pm June Knight told the court she had given Mckenzie his pyjamas and then told him it was time to turn the internet off but she received no response. When she went upstairs to check on him she found him unresponsive. She described rushing to her neighbour Diane Morris to plead for help.