Hanging tragedy of bullied Jessica, 14

Jessica Blake
Jessica Blake
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A 14-YEAR-OLD girl who was found hanged in a tree after discussing a suicide pact with her friend may not have meant to take her own life, an inquest has heard.

Jessica Blake, who had a history of self-harm, was found sitting in a tree with a ligature around her neck after going missing from her home in Beverley, East Yorkshire, in August.

But the teenager may not have intended to kill herself, despite making a plan with her close friend to jump from the Humber Bridge the following week, the inquest at Hull Coroner’s Court heard.

Coroner Geoffrey Saul recorded a narrative verdict at today’s hearing after saying that Jessica’s age, “history of fantasy” and the fact that she was found in a sitting position in the tree meant he could not be certain her death was suicide.

Mr Saul said: “On the 26 August 2012, in a wooded area to the rear of Chester Avenue, Beverley, Jessica Louise Blake was found deceased.

“She died from hanging at her own hand but the question of her intent remains uncertain.”

A statement made by Jessica’s friend said they would discuss self-harm or suicide when they were unhappy or angry but she said they were just “thoughts” and she never believed it would happen.

Jessica was referred to a children’s mental health service in November last year after her school discovered she had been self-harming.

She had a number of appointments before being discharged at the end of February.

She told staff she had experienced some problems at school, which had since been resolved, and that she felt angry and frustrated at home because of the chores she had to do as a result of her mother’s disability.

Detective Constable Rebecca James, of Humberside Police, said there had been some low-level bullying at the school involving name-calling but not always involving the teenager.

In the months leading up to her death, Jessica told her friends a number of stories which were not proved or she admitted were untrue.

Police and social services became involved with the family after Jessica told a friend that her father had hit her but an investigation found no evidence of violence and Jessica later admitted she had made up the story.

She also reported that she had been raped but later withdrew the allegation.

In March this year, a fire officer alerted the authorities after Jessica set fire to the curtains in her bedroom while lighting pieces of paper in a bin.

She claimed she had not meant to cause the fire but Shaun Harrison, who attended the blaze, said he felt it was a cry for help.

A major search was launched on August 25 after Jessica went missing.

Her friend raised the alarm after being unable to contact the teenager following numerous text messages and phone calls between the pair which led her to believe Jessica may try to kill herself.

Jessica’s body was found in the tree the following day by a member of the public taking part in the search.