HEARTBROKEN relatives of a teenage boy found dead in South Yorkshire woods have described him as ‘Jack the Lad’ and said they are ‘devastated’ at his death.
Liam Antony Collier is believed to have hanged himself in woodland off Millhouses Street, Elsecar.
It is thought the teenager, of St Helen’s Street, Elsecar, had been overcome with grief at the loss of his mum Deborah, who was 35 when she died of cancer in February.
A statement by relatives said: “Liam was a ‘Jack the lad’, he worshipped his family, his mother, his brothers and his sisters.
“Liam was a good lad, he loved life and his mates. He will be sadly missed and we are devastated by our loss.”
Michael Dugher, MP for Barnsley East, was among those offering condolences to the family.
He said: “Like all local residents, I was shocked and extremely saddened to hear of the death of Liam Collier. My heart goes out to his family and friends - and my thoughts and prayers are with them.”
An inquest is expected to be opened this week, with police not treating the death as suspicious.
Friends have left flowers and tributes at the spot where Liam.
Flowers are pinned to the tree where Liam’s body was found at around 8.30pm on Monday.
One friend, who visited the scene with his mother afterwards, said: “It’s just terrible. He always knew how to have a laugh.
“When people were upset, he always cheered them up.”
A note with one of the floral tributes said: “You always will be in my heart. I love you and I will miss you loads. Sleep tight.”
Grieving friends used Facebook and Twitter to express their shock at Liam’s death and plan to set up a group to organise a permanent memorial to be placed at Wombwell High School, where Liam was a pupil.
One post left on a tribute site by Dona Rayner said: “Know you are safe now with your mum and you will not be hurting now you are with her where’s she’s holding you in her arms.
“Thoughts with all the family and friends.”
His former girlfriend Shan Lingard said: “R.I.P baby, you were an amazing boyfriend when we were together and an amazing friend when we weren’t. Thinking of you little man. Gonna miss you so much.”
Lyndsey Taylor wrote: “Feel so sad that a young lad with so much life ahead of him...summer just round the corner and lots of fun to be had. His mum would have wanted this more than anything.
“A young lad who had so many friends who cared so much. It’s heartbreaking.”