THE mother of a Kidderminster-raised teenager has described the moment of "shock and disbelief" she found out her "genius" son had died after falling into Weymouth Harbour.
Christopher Vaughan, 18, died following the incident last Thursday. He had moved to the Dorset town last summer from Yellowhammer Court, Kidderminster, where he had lived with mum Julia and sister Sarah, 21, to be with girlfriend Tara Neels.
He was pulled out of the water at about 2.30am and later pronounced dead at Dorset County Hospital, where doctors had battled to save him for more than two hours after he had suffered a cardiac arrest. Police said the death was not being treated as suspicious and officers were investigating how the teenager ended up in the water.
Ms Vaughan, 51, told The Shuttle she and partner Keith Irons were woken at 4.30am that morning by police, who informed them of the incident. As she prepared to leave for Weymouth, a doctor called to say Christopher had not survived.
"It was shock, disbelief, surreal," she said. "It felt like we were going to wake up in a minute. He had called his father [Nicholas Vaughan] a few hours before and was really upbeat, happy he was living with his girlfriend and it was a really positive, lovely conversation."
Christopher was born in Cardiff and moved to Kidderminster aged four. He attended Franche First School, Comberton First School and King Charles I High School, where he also studied for a year in the sixth form. As a 14-year-old, he delivered The Shuttle.
Throughout his school life he had been placed in the year above his age group, with teachers even describing him as a "genius" and he excelled in maths. His passion was video games, particularly strategy and role playing, and he wanted to pursue a career in computer game design.
He left Kidderminster for Weymouth last summer to be with Tara, who he had met through an online gaming community, where he was known as Alan. He worked at a Londis store and planned to go back to college to finish studying and apply to university.
Ms Vaughan added: "I have been overwhelmed by the care, concern and affection of people whose lives Chris had touched, whether directly or indirectly. The support has been wonderful."
Heartfelt tributes have poured in at the site of the tragedy and on The Shuttle website. His former teachers described the "popular" youngster's death as a "tragic loss".
Stuart Arch, King Charles I assistant headteacher, said: "He was a very able and intelligent young man."
The coroner has been informed of the death and his funeral will take place on Saturday at 10.30am at St Augustine's Church, Edgbaston, Birmingham.