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UPDATE: Grantham schoolboy Pierre Barnes died from drowning, autopsy confirms

Pierre Barnes, 12, has gone missing in France. He is pictured with his mother Florence and father Stephen.
The family lives in Grantham.

Pierre Barnes, 12, has gone missing in France. He is pictured with his mother Florence and father Stephen. The family lives in Grantham.

An autopsy has confirmed that a body found on the island of Porquerolles is that of Grantham schoolboy Pierre Barnes, 12.

Divers found the body of the boy, a King’s School pupil, on the seabed of the southern French island just 10 yards from the spot where his bike and one of his shoes were found by a search team on Sunday morning.

His body was recovered and taken to mainland France by lifeboat. An autopsy confirmed he had died from drowning.

Pierre’s family, of Barrowby Road in Grantham, have said Pierre will be buried at Melun near Paris, in the church where he was baptised.

Pierre’s father Stephen, 57, has spoken to journalists in France, saying his son “could now rest in peace”.

Just hours after the Barnes family, of Barrowby Road, arrived on the island for the start of their week-long holiday, Pierre went missing. After three days, the search was scaled down and chances of finding him alive were described as slim.

Mr Barnes told journalists in France on Tuesday that he believed his son had not survived.

He said: “Now that three nights have passed, we think he is dead.”

Pierre set off alone on a bike ride after arriving on the tiny island of Porquerolles.

Mr Barnes said the weather was fine when he left but a storm soon arrived and gale-force winds battered the island.

When Pierre failed to return to the holiday home, search teams were sent out.

On Sunday morning, his bike with a derailed chain and one of his shoes were found by a creek 3km from the home the Barnes family were renting. He had been wearing a rugby shirt and a dressing gown worn like a cape.

Around 150 people complete with search dogs and divers scoured every inch of the island this week.

Earlier on in the week, Mr Barnes, a property company director, told reporters the family hoped Pierre or his body would be found, adding: “The worst thing is not to know and to be left weeks without knowing the outcome.”

King’s School headteacher Frank Hedley spoke to the Journal yesterday about the “superb boy”, who had many friends and was popular at the school.

He said: “We as a school will do anything we can to help the family and to support King’s boys at this extremely sad time. It’s going to be a difficult and emotionally-charged time for some of the boys, especially those who know Pierre.

“The boys at the school are like a family so they will feel like they have lost one of their own.”

Mr Barnes and his wife, Florence, have three further children, Zoe, 17, Desmond, 15, and Clemence, 13.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office had confirmed that the UK office had been working with the Barnes family and also authorities in France.

The spokesman added: “We are in touch with the French authorities and we are providing consular assistance.”

 

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