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11th Jun 2024

Police investigate death of 11 year old boy who died during dangerous TikTok challenge

Niamh Ryan

Tommie-Lee Gracie Billington passed away in March this year after taking part in a dangerous online challenge from TikTok.

The 11-year old was at a sleepover in Lancaster when he inhaled a toxic substance and had to be rushed to the hospital.

Chroming is a trend that has become popularised on TikTok and other social media platforms in recent months.

It involves inhaling chemicals such as aerosol deodorant, nail polish, and glue to get a “high” or head rush.

Inhaling the toxic chemicals slows down brain function, which causes the high, but can also cause hallucinations and nausea.

Police have now arrested a 25-year-old man on suspicion of child cruelty and possession with intent to supply a drug. A 35-year-old woman was also brought in for questioning.

The boy’s family have been vocal on social media about the dangers of TikTok for children. They have urged parents to delete the app on their children’s phones.

“This is breaking us all but we want to help save other children’s lives and give families awareness to keep their children safe,” Tina Burns, Tommie-Lee’s grandmother, said.

“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.”

The man has been released on bail pending further enquiries.