A nine year-old boy who died in a tragic accident after he got tangled on a play rope in his garden had strong family connections to Derry, the ‘Journal’ has learned.
Josef Kazzan, known as Joe, is the grandson of Joseph Cullen - who moved to England in his early 20s - and great grandson of Joseph and Margaret Cullen formerly of Racecourse Road and Drumleck Drive.
It is thought the schoolboy had been climbing the rope tied to a large tree outside his home in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, when he slipped and his neck became trapped in a loop at the bottom. The accident happened on July 15, and Joe passed away two days later at Leeds General Infirmary.
His mother, Rachel Cullen, daughter of Joseph junior, has spoken of how the family have been left ‘broken’ by his death.
His mother said: “I’m in shock. As a mother you just never ever think that this will happen to you. It doesn’t feel real.
“I never left my kids alone. I can’t believe this happened when I turned my back for such a short period of time. I am just taking one hour at a time because I can’t even begin to think about life without Joe.
“Joe was a beautiful, lovely boy. He was full of life and energy and loved being around people. He would win everyone over. He had loads of friends and was always wanting to call on his friends. The family has been torn apart by this. The house is quiet, we are broken.”
Members of the Cullen family still living in Derry have spoken of their shock at the devastating news, saying it has been very difficult to come to terms with.