Smethwick inquest 'after boy refused blood'

BBC News/June 22, 2010

An inquest has opened into the death of a Jehovah's Witness who refused a blood transfusion.

Joshua McAuley, 15, had been trapped between a car and a shop when it veered off Cape Hill in Smethwick, West Midlands, coroner Robin Balmain said.

A 28-year-old man, from Winson Green, Birmingham, was arrested after the car became embedded in the shop. He was released on bail.

The inquest, at Smethwick Council House, was adjourned to a later date.

Mr Balmain said the student, of Church Road, Smethwick, had been trapped between a Vauxhall Astra and the shop on 15 May.

Outlining the circumstances of Joshua's death, the coroner said the teenager had surgery at Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital after suffering severe leg injuries.

Mr Balmain stressed that the circumstances of his death would have to be confirmed by evidence in due course.

'Ongoing police inquiries'

The coroner added: "I am told he required a blood transfusion but, due to being a Jehovah's Witness, this option was declined.

"There are clearly ongoing police inquiries and I have no information at the present time as to whether this matter will be dealt with in this court or a criminal court."

The inquest was also told that a pathologist had yet to give the court the medical cause of Joshua's death.

The student's parents were not present at the hearing on Tuesday, but were represented by a family friend.

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