A teen who threw cheese at a classmate causing a fatal allergic reaction has apologised for his actions.
Another classmate who was also involved in the tragic incident said ‘he didn’t know cheese was dairy.’
Speaking at the inquest into 13-year-old Karanbir Singh Cheema’s death, the boy, who can’t be named for legal reasons, told Karanbir’s grieving parents: “I didn’t mean any harm. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for what I did.”
Karanbir, who was also known as Karan, suffered a serve allergic reaction after a piece of cheese ‘half the size of a Post-It note’ was thrown at him, hitting him in the neck, while he was at school in Greenford, West London in June 2017.
Thirteen-year-old Karanbir Singh Cheema died following an allergic reaction. Credit: SWNS
He went into anaphylactic shock and paramedics were called but he had already lost consciousness. Despite being rushed to hospital, he died 10 days later.
Karanbir was severely allergic to all dairy products, as well as wheat, gluten, eggs and nuts.
At St Pancras Coroner’s court, the first boy admitted to ‘flicking’ the cheese at Karanbir, but said he didn’t know the teen was allergic to dairy.
Asked if he understood the allergy, he said: “I thought maybe he would get a fever or a rash and miss school for a while… I didn’t know it could lead to death.
“I didn’t know he was allergic. I flicked it at him with the finger of my other hand. I think it landed on the left side of his neck.
“After that Karan just told me, ‘I’m allergic to cheese’ – I apologised then after that.”
The other boy – who had passed the cheese to the first boy – said he knew Karanbir was allergic to dairy – but at the time he had not realised cheese was dairy.
The inquest heard that Karanbir Singh Cheema was ‘so bright he could have been anything he wanted’. Credit: SWNS
“At the time I didn’t know dairy was cheese,” he said. “Milk and yoghurt, I would say that was dairy. ”
A third boy, who witnessed the incident, had told police the boy who had passed the cheese to his classmate mentioned Karanbir was allergic to it, the court heard.
Andrew Hogarth QC, representing Karanbir’s family, said: “He [the witness] said he heard you telling him that Karan was allergic to cheese – did you tell him that?”
The boy denied saying that.
The court also heard that the epipen the school had for Karanbir was a year out of date due to an ‘error’ on a spreadsheet.