DOCTORS at two hospitals failed to diagnose that a Farnborough teenager was suffering from an infection which led to his death from blood poisoning.

They believed that 14-year-old Richard Donne, described as a normal active boy, was suffering from a sprained ankle, an inquest at Alton heard yesterday (Wednesday).

But Coroner Andrew Bradley said the doctors at a Swansea hospital and Frimley Park Hospital had made a "reasoned judgement`" on the symptoms.

There were no outward signs that Richard's foot was infected, and as his condition worsened, the pain represented a sprain.

He found it difficult to assess the significance of a graze which the youngster had sustained at Aldershot lido shortly before he died.

"I can't say ‘that's where it all started,' " said the Coroner. He could only say that there was no evidence of the infection being caused unnaturally.

He added that by the time septicaemia had been diagnosed, the condition had become overwhelming and it was too late to save Richard.

The Coroner recorded a verdict of death by natural causes on Richard, of Grange Road, Farnborough, who died at London's St George's Hospital on August 14.

Richard, who played for Farnborough Town's Under 14 football team, first complained of his ankle causing pain while staying with his father, John Poole, in Wales.

Mr Poole said the ankle was swollen, but there was no inflammation, and Richard who had taken his stepfather's surname - was advised to put an ice pack on it. He was also prescribed painkillers.

Shortly after, the youngster developed a temperature of 103, and Mr Poole took him back to Farnborough and then to Frimley Park Hospital.

Richard's stepfather, Mark Donne, said that on August 13 the youngster appeared to be hallucinating and his right leg became discoloured up to the thigh.

Explaining that he had stayed up through the night with his stepson, Mr Donne said: "He whispered to me: ‘Help me, dad.' "

A doctor was called to the house at 4.30am and he immediately summoned an ambulance. Richard died later that day at St George's Hospital.