Man arrested after 11-year-old boy dies in ’TikTok challenge’ mishap

11 June 2024 , 09:01
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Man arrested after 11-year-old boy dies in ’TikTok challenge’ mishap
Man arrested after 11-year-old boy dies in ’TikTok challenge’ mishap

Two adults have been questioned by police after an 11-year-old boy died while taking part in a ‘TikTok challenge gone wrong’.

Tommy-lee Gracie Billington lost consciousness after ‘inhaling toxic substances’ during a sleepover at a friend’s house on March 2, before later dying in hospital.

His death was believed to have been linked to a social media trend called ‘chroming,’ which involves inhaling toxic chemicals such as paint, solvents, aerosols, cleaning products or petrol.

Once inhaled, these substances create a short-term ‘high’ comparable to drinking alcohol.

Tommie-lee Gracie Billington, 11, (pictured) died in an incident at a home in Greenset Close, Lancaster, on Saturday / re: 11yo died at sleepover where he and a friend had tried the craze chroming - a slang term to describe the trend of inhaling toxic fumes rriddqikeiqtkinv
Tommie-lee, 11, died at sleepover where he and a friend had tried the craze chroming – a slang term to describe the trend of inhaling toxic fumes (Picture: Facebook)

Other side- effects can include feelings of light-headedness, relaxation, drowsiness, giddiness excitement, even euphoria and mild hallucinations.

The terminology and the act have had long lives, first appearing on Urban Dictionary in 2006.

But more recently ‘chroming’ found popularity with younger generations on platforms such as TikTok, where youngsters posted videos of themselves inhaling toxic fumes.

TikTok has since blocked the search for trends such as chroming.

Lancashire Police have now confirmed that a 25-year-old man from Lancaster has been arrested on suspicion of child cruelty, neglect, possession with intent to supply a drug and money laundering.

He has been released on bail while their enquiries are ongoing.

A woman, 35, was also interviewed voluntarily in the investigation in relation to an allegation of possession with intent to supply.

Tommie-lee pictured with his father Graham Billington Graham Richard Billington / re: 11yo died at sleepover where he and a friend had tried the craze chroming - a slang term to describe the trend of inhaling toxic fumes

Tommie-lee pictured with his father Graham Billington(Picture: Facebook)

Following Tommie’s death, his heartbroken grandmother Tina Burns spoke of her devastation after learning of his death.

She had said: ‘He had a heart of gold just like his dad. Our family is utterly devastated.

‘He died instantly after a sleepover at a friend’s house.

‘The boys had tried the TikTok craze ‘chroming’.

‘Tommie-Lee went into cardiac arrest immediately and died right there and then.

‘The hospital did everything to try and bring him back but nothing worked. He was gone.’

Tina previously said both families wanted to raise awareness of the dangers of TikTok for youngsters.

 
A 25-year-old man has been arrested in connection with hisb death (Picture: Facebook/UNPIXS)

The teaching assistant added: ‘Both our families are utterly devastated but we all want the same thing.

‘We don’t want any other children to follow TikTok or be on social media.

‘In fact, we want to get TikTok taken down and no children to be allowed on any social media under 16 years of age.

‘This is breaking us all but we want to help save other children’s lives and give families awareness to keep their children safe.

‘I have had so many messages from parents thanking me for making them aware.

‘One person said that she had no idea about these social media crazes and that her children happily stay in their rooms on TikTok.

‘She never knew there were things like this on it.

Tommie-lee pictured with his father Graham Billington Graham Richard Billington / re: 11yo died at sleepover where he and a friend had tried the craze chroming - a slang term to describe the trend of inhaling toxic fumes

A 35-year-old woman has also been questioned by police (Picture: Facebook)

‘She has now removed all social media from their devices and is so grateful that we are openly talking about it.

‘I am a teaching assistant and work in year five and six.

‘I have been open and honest with my headteacher so that we can get this important message out to all schools too.’

Tommie-Lee’s mum Sherri also issued a warning to parents, writing on Facebook: ‘As much as I hate talking about it, I need to raise awareness of what kids are trying nowadays.

‘This cost my son his life from trying something other kids are doing.

‘They are using this and breathing them in to try get a buzz.

‘It is beyond me why anyone would even try this. It’s so dangerous.

‘Tommie had stayed over at a friends and was inhaling this with his friend which cost him his poor, young life.

‘Please talk to your children about the consequences of this, I have no idea how this even came about for children to try.’

David Wilson

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