Death of Josef, 9, is tragic accident

Josef Kazzan, who tragically lost his life in July.
Josef Kazzan, who tragically lost his life in July.

A TALENTED young footballer died in an “unspeakably sad” accident while playing in his garden.

An inquest heard how nine-year-old Josef Kazzan became tangled in a climbing rope on a willow tree in his family’s garden Woodlands Drive, Gomersal, on Sunday July 15.

Coroner Peter Henry Straker recorded a verdict of accidental death, adding: “Josef was playing in the garden when he was caught up in the climbing rope which caused the injuries.

“This is an unspeakably sad case and the family have my sympathies.”

The hearing was told that Josef and his friends regularly played in the garden, but on the day of the accident he was alone.

In a statement read out to the inquest his mother, Rachel Cullen, said: “We have always encouraged our children to play in the garden because there is space.

“Joe was very much an outdoor boy. He was always full of life and playing.”

Josef had been playing out after the family had come home from church and, after eating a sandwich, he asked his father, Ahmed Kazzan, for another one.

Mr Kazzan, 61, made him a sandwich while Josef was playing in the garden, before placing it on the garden table for him.

He said he became concerned when he noticed later on that the sandwich remained uneaten, and they searched the house for him.

Josef’s mum went out into the garden where she found him in the tree.

She said: “I saw him and I screamed – his chin was just balancing on the rope. We could not understand why he hadn’t fallen.

Mr Kazzan lifted Josef to the ground before giving him the kiss of life.

He was helped by Joe’s older sister, Nadiah, but Josef did not regain consciousness.

An ambulance was called and paramedics found Josef unresponsive, and took him to Dewsbury and District Hospital.

He was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary later that evening.

He remained unconcious and two days later his family took the heart-wrenching decison to switch off his life support.

Josef attended St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School in Birstall and played football for Drighlington U10s.

He had been awarded the Parents’ Player of the Year accolade just two weeks earlier.

Tributes poured in following Josef’s death.

His headteacher Anthony Rush said of the the popular pupil: “Josef was a lovely boy, with a mop of dark hair, a sparkle in his eye and a kind word for everyone.

“He was a good friend to his classmates and loved nothing better than playing chase or football.”

His coach at Drighlington Juniors Simon Duckworth said: “He was just a smashing kid. He did what he was told, he had a glint in his eye and a mischievous grin but there wasn’t a nasty bone in his body.”