Horatio Chapple
Horatio Chapple's death mocked in the Socialist Worker

A socialist newspaper has been heavily criticised for an article appearing to mock the death of Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple, who was mauled to death by a polar bear.

Entitled: Eton by Bear? The Inquest Begins, the article was published in the Socialist Worker in which it wrote: "Now we have another reason to save the polar bears".

The paper's behaviour has been slammed as "despicable" for turning the death of the 17-year-old into a class war.

The teen was asleep in his tent on a camping trip in the remote Svalbard islands in Norway, when the polar bear ripped it open and dragged him out, causing fatal wounds to his head. An inquest into his death is currently underway.

Adrian Weale, an army Reserve officer whose son was in the same year as Chapple at Eton, said the piece was "despicable".

He told The Independent: "As a parent, I can only imagine the pain his death must have caused to his family. That the Socialist Worker thinks the violent death of a child is a fit subject for humour indicates a level of depravity and insensitivity to the suffering of others which is surprising.

"The Socialist Worker should, at the very least, make a full and unreserved apology to the family and the Socialist Workers' Party should immediately disassociate itself from this article and its author."

He added: "Who knows how Horatio's life would have turned out? There are more than few ex-public schoolboys and girls in the ranks of the SWP and I doubt that many of them would think that the killing of one them or their siblings by a sick animal had anything much to do with their supposed class war."

The Socialist Worker were not available for comment when IBTimes UK contacted them.