Inquest told of the hours leading to death of air cadet, 14

David Efemena, 14, of Elm Park, died while on a cadet camping trip in Hampshire.

David Efemena, 14, of Elm Park, died while on a cadet camping trip in Hampshire. - Credit: Archant

An inquest into the death of a 14-year-old at a military base heard of the frustration felt by a more senior air cadet as he struggled to contact group leaders.

David Efemena, of the 1838 Elm Park Air Training Corps Squadron, “appeared lifeless” when his fellow cadets checked up on him in the early hours of the morning at the Bramley Defence Training Estate, Hampshire, on March 23 last year.

Staff cadet, Craig Barrett, had been alerted to David’s deteriorating condition by another cadet sharing his tent.

He told Walthamstow Coroner’s Court he had been “frustrated” because he struggled to get in touch with leaders using a two-way radio.

He told coroner Nadia Persaud it could have been up to half-an-hour before he was successful in contacting group leaders, who he thought took a further 10 minutes to reach the boys’ tents.


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Paramedic Jennifer Francis told the inquest it took an ambulance 10 minutes to reach the site and further eight minutes to get to David.

An air ambulance was called to the scene and flew him to Basingstoke Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

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David’s father Felix Dibie, of Elm Park, described his reaction when a doctor informed him his son had died.

He said: “The first thing he said was I am sorry your son did not make it and I could not believe it, I screamed.

“The doctor was trying to calm us down and I asked the doctor ‘Why did you not save my son? You have all the tools and instruments – why did you not save him’.”

A coroner told the inquest David, a student of The Campion School, Wingletye Lane, Hornchurch, had died of a congenital heart anomaly.

The inquest resumes on Tuesday.

For a full report see next week’s paper.

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