Suicide inquiry told of girl’s joy

A girl who jumped to her death from a bridge with a friend in an apparent suicide pact was “happy” and “excited” just a month before she died, an inquiry was told yesterday.

Social worker Susan Ainley said she last saw Georgia Rowe “giggling back to the girls” after she dropped her off from a day trip.

The 14-year-old was a resident at the Good Shepherd Centre in Renfrewshire and Ms Ainley had travelled from Hull to take her out for the day.

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The pair went shopping in Glasgow on September 9 2009, where they bought Georgia some new clothes and had lunch.

But, on October 4 2009, the teenager and her friend, Niamh Lafferty, 15, died when they fell more than 100ft from the Erskine Bridge.

Niamh also lived at the Good Shepherd Centre.

Ms Ainley told a fatal accident inquiry into the two deaths at Paisley Sheriff Court: “She told me she was really happy.

“She was very happy that day. She was excited about being taken out. I took her back to the secure unit and we pulled into the car park. The other girls were all excited to see her and she ran back to them. She was really giggling and smiling. I just remember her walking away, and turning and waving, and then giggling back to the girls.”

Procurator fiscal John Watt asked her: “Was that the last time you saw Georgia?”

Ms Ainley replied: “Yes. It was the last time I saw her.”

Georgia was in the care of Hull City Council but spent the early part of her life living with her aunt, Tanya Oliver, in Scotland.

Ms Oliver took Georgia into her care at the age of nine months because her birth mother was unable to look after her. She adopted two of Georgia’s siblings but did not formally adopt the teenager.

In June 2008, Georgia was taken into care after her behaviour deteriorated and she returned to live in a children’s home in Hull. She moved to the Good Shepherd Centre in April 2009.

Around the time of Ms Ainley’s visit, it appeared that Georgia’s relationship with her aunt had broken down.

Ms Ainley, a team leader in the social work division of Hull City Council, said the team caring for Georgia had formed the impression that contact with her aunt was upsetting the 14-year-old.

She said: “We were getting the impression that Tanya was triggering some of Georgia’s difficult behaviour by giving her information that would upset her. Georgia had been told that her mother was knocking on relatives’ doors begging for money because she was using drugs again. Information like that would traumatise Georgia. She was worried about her. She would get really, really upset if she thought her mum was using drugs again or was ill. She would have an outburst and that would usually lead to her having to be restrained. Georgia told me it was Tanya who told her that.”

The inquiry was also read a diary note written by Ms Ainley after the visit. It read: “Georgia told me that she feels Tanya is unable to empathise with her.”

The inquiry continues.