Police and flowers at the scene

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Essex Police urged the public not to speculate on the circumstances of the crash

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a 12-year-old boy who died in a hit-and-run outside a school.

The 51-year-old was also detained on suspicion of the attempted murder of four other teenagers and a 23-year-old woman who were hurt in the crash.

It happened near Debden Park High School in Loughton, Essex, at about 15:20 GMT on Monday.

Essex Police said officers were looking for a silver Ford KA that was “likely to have damage to [its] front”.

Earlier, the force took the step of naming Terry Glover, 51, as someone they wanted to speak to in connection with the crash.

It is understood that all the injured children – two 15-year-old boys, a 13-year-old boy, and a girl, 16 – are pupils at the school.

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Flowers have been laid outside the school

Debden Park’s head teacher Helen Gascoyne, said: “Our thoughts are with the family and all those affected.

“The school will be open [on Tuesday] with a number of counsellors on hand to support our community.”

‘Liked and loved’

Christian Cavanagh, executive head teacher, described the boy’s death as “a young life so tragically lost”.

He said: “This young man had made his mark on the school and was liked and loved by staff and students.

“We will consult with the family and our school community to decide how best to commemorate his life.”

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EPA

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Christian Cavanagh said the dead boy had been “liked and loved by staff and pupils”

Donna Mills, the mother of Alfie Barnes who was one of the 15-year-olds struck by the car, said he was “still in shock”, “battered and bruised”.

“He remembers the car coming towards him, he remembers getting hit but it is a bit of a blur. “e hit his head and I think he blacked out for a bit,” she said.

“It was a bit scary, very scary for him.

“Alfie rang me and said ‘mum I have been hit by a car’, so I shot down there as fast as I could, it was horrendous.

“It was… horrible to see, kids laying on the floor, just terrible.”

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There is likely to be a “prolonged investigation”, police said

Det Ch Insp Rob Kirby described the crash as “truly shocking” and appealed for dashcam footage.

“I would like to thank the many members of the public who have called us with information and spoken to our officers, as well as those who provided crucial medical assistance at the scene,” he said.

Willingale Road, where the crash happened, cannot be accessed from junctions on either side of the school and remains cordoned off.

At the scene

Charlotte Rose, BBC Essex

Pupils arriving to school this morning knew today was not going to be an ordinary day.

Many of them may have witnessed some of the events that unfolded on Willingale Road as they left school last night, many more who may not have seen it firsthand will probably have seen reports on social media.

The school has decided to open in order that pupils can come in, can be with their friends, fellow pupils and teachers and can receive counselling if they want or need it.

A number of students have laid floral tributes, some with cards and messages for the family.

Chris Whitbread, leader of Epping Forest District Council, said any parent who had heard about the crash would have been “devastated and shocked”.

Sixth-form student Scarlett Bearman, 17, said exams had been cancelled for the day and counselling was being provided to pupils.

She said: “From my point of view the school has handled it extremely well. I expect the mood there to be quite low today.”

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Google

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Debden Park High School will open on Tuesday for staff and pupils to support each other

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