Hanged girl's death 'obsession'

Teenager 'utterly fascinated' by suicide had folder about bullied children killing themselves Dave Mark A TEENAGE girl who became obsessed and fascinated by death may have accidentally strangled herself in her grandmother's garden while "experimenting" with the mechanics of suicide.

Hull Coroner Geoffrey Saul heard yesterday that although 15-year-old Vicky Davis had talked of suicide in the past and used to cut and burn herself, he could not be satisfied that she had made a genuine attempt to take her own life in the "very sad" incident last year.

He heard how the "troubled" teenager was found hanged by a pink cord belt from a tree in the back garden of her grandparents' house at Reedness, near Goole, in April.

Miss Davis had been living in her grandparents' custody since she was four. From an early age she had been impulsive, fearlessand "unaware of dangers" and was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), for which shestarted taking medication.

When she started at Vermuyden Secondary School at Goole, she became the victim of playground bullies, the inquest heard. After becoming concerned for her welfare, Miss Davis's grandmother, Joan Bellis, became concerned and withdrew her from the school.

After a year of being taught at home, Miss Davis started attending Howden School. At first she seemed happy, but did not settle and reported further bullying.

She was permanently excluded from schoolover behavioural problems and moved to a local college, where she was again expelled after sending a threatening poem to another classmate. Eventually she was sent to the Sunrise Project in Hull, which teaches adolescents who have difficulty fitting into mainstream education.

Miss Davis also began receiving counselling andseeing regular social workers. Mr Saul heard evidence that Miss Davis had been abusing solvents, and she admitted to "black moods".

She also revealed that she had taken 16paracetamol tablets in an attempt at suicide. There was also evidence she was sexually abused by an elderly man, whose identity was not revealed.

Her family told the hearing that Miss Davis was "utterly obsessed" with death, murder and suicide.

She spent vast amounts of time on the Internet reading poems about death, and had a folder full of stories about children being killed, or killing themselves as a result of bullying.

She gave family members poems written in memory of accident victims, and would write page after page of "dark thoughts".

Her mother Heather Davis, with whom she had begun having regular contact shortly before her death, said: "She was obsessed with it. I remember we were talking about how my boyfriend's uncle had killed himself and she was asking him about it over and over. She got all sort of starry-eyed as he spoke about it."

On the day of her death, Miss Davis came downstairs shortly before 10am.

Her grandmother, Mrs Bellis, said: "She picked up a T-shirt...that was all creased. I didn't want her going out like that and I mentioned it and she started sulking, sayingI was always getting at her.

"I saw her walking in the garden. I took the laundry outside...when I noticed her out of the corner of my eye. She was completely still."

Her consultant psychiatrist said she was not taking her ADHD medication at the time of her death and that may have contributed to her lack of impulse control.

Mr Saul, recording an open verdict, said: "Because of her obsession and preoccupation with the mechanics of death, it is possible she may have been experimenting with death, not intending to take her life. Unconsciousness may have come before she could save her life."

dave.mark@ypn.co.uk