THE heartbroken family of 12-year-old Harley Watson killed in a hit-and-run crash outside his school have paid tribute to their "good, kind, helpful and lovely" boy.
Harley, described as a "little man with a big heart", was killed and five other students were injured in a crash as they left Debden Park High School in Loughton, Essex, at 3.20pm yesterday.
Among the injured were four boys aged 12, 13 and two aged 15, along with a 16-year-old girl and 23-year-old woman.
Paying tribute to Harley, his family said: "We are so devastated by what has happened.
"Harley was a good, kind, helpful and lovely boy.
"We would like to thank everyone for their kind wishes and concern. However as a family we would like people to respect our privacy and allow us to grieve in peace."
A 51-year-old man, from Loughton, was arrested on suspicion of murder and six counts of attempted murder at 11pm yesterday after he was found asleep in a pub car park five miles away.
A similar-looking car reportedly mounted the pavement near Roding Valley High School, just two miles from Debden Park High School, about 10 minutes before the fatal hit-and-run.
Police believe the two incidents may be linked.
The arrest came after detectives appealed to find Loughton man Terry Glover over the incident.
TRIBUTES TO HARLEY
Tributes have been paid to Harley, who was remembered as a "caring" young boy.
One message read: "Today my little mate Harley sadly was involved in a devastated accident which has killed him.
"I know Harley did not deserve any of this because he was a caring boy and would never hurt anyone so everyone please make all your family members that drive a car, to please be careful on the roads."
He added: "Our hearts are praying with Harley's family."
One father, whose daughter was hit by the car, told Essex Live: "A Ford KA mounted the pavement behind her. Her friend was bounced onto the bonnet before another boy was hit very bad.
"The car drove off down the road and the police arrived quickly. My daughter is safe, but the wing mirror clipped my daughter. Her friend got thrown off the bonnet.
"It was awful to witness. Everyone is in shock."
Head teacher Helen Gascoyne said the school had been "devastated" by the death of one of its students and that pupils will be offered counselling on Tuesday.
A mum, whose daughter sat next to Harley, said: "My daughter is distraught. She doesn't know what to do with herself.
"She was with him during the day. She said literally hours before they had been together.
"He was a lovely funny boy.
"Our children are not safe. It could've been my daughter."
Christian Kavanagh, Executive Head, said: "We offer our heartfelt condolences to the young man.
"A young life so tragically lost. He made a mark on the school and was liked and loved by students."
Essex Police said all the children injured were pupils at Debden Park High School.
LINES OF INQUIRY
Police are trying to establish the route the vehicle took from Debden Park School, in Willingale Road, to the Merry Fiddler in Fiddlers Hamlet.
Chief Supt Tracey Harman said the force is examining a number of inquiries, "including where there has been previous contact between Essex Police and the man we have arrested".
DCI Rob Kirby, senior investigating officer, said the incident at Roding Valley High School may be linked to the fatal collision at Debden Park High School.
He said: "Our investigations have led us to establish that there may be connections between that incident and the one which has led us to establish a murder investigation."
Sharon Jenner, headteacher of Roding Valley High School, said: "I can confirm that we have been made aware from several of our students that a car, similar in description was seen in Brook Road, Loughton, at about 3:10pm.
"We have reported this sighting to the police to support the ongoing investigation."
Scores of well-wishers have begun donating to a GoFundMe.com fundraising page in Harley's memory, which has so far raised more than £15,000.
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