A girl of 12 who claimed she was bullied at school wrote ‘RIP’ on her heel before hanging herself from her bunk beds, an inquest heard yesterday.
Jessica Scatterson’s friends called the police after she posted a picture of her foot and other harrowing messages on social media in the middle of the night.
Officers woke up her father, who discovered her dead, surrounded by cuddly toys, in her bedroom.
Handwritten notes and drawings, which included references to death and suicide, plus the name of her alleged bully, were also found.
The hearing was told Jessica had spoken to teachers about her difficult home life with her father, Christopher Scatterson, who would ‘sometimes come home, go to his room and cry’.
Sergeant Ross Dryden, of Cheshire Police, said Mr Scatterson, 41, spoke to him from an upstairs window at his home in Warrington after being woken up at 3.45am on April 22 last year. Shortly after, he heard a ‘loud scream’ from inside.
Sergeant Dryden tried to resuscitate Jessica, who would have turned 13 two days later, until paramedics arrived. But she was pronounced dead a short time later.
Paramedic Joanne Newton told the hearing at Warrington Town Hall that she noticed cuts to Jessica’s legs and ‘RIP’ written in pen on her right heel.
Police were called to her house by Jessica’s friends after they saw the worrying social media post
Police found a series of handwritten notes in her bedroom.
Inspector Hannah Friend said: ‘These contained references of suicide and death and a hand-drawn picture of someone being hanged.’
Nasty messages between Jessica and her friends in the days before were also found on her iPad. A group photograph, in which one of the girls’ faces had been scratched out, was also discovered
Jessica’s friends told police she had previously self-harmed, but never told her parents or teachers at Penketh High School. Inspector Friend said that, during their inquiry, she became aware of an incident ‘relating to Jessica being bullied at school’ in April 2016.
Jessica had come home with scratches to her face and a swollen eye after arguing with another girl. The matter was reported to the police but it was unclear who had started the fight so no action was taken.
The name of the girl, whose identity was not revealed, was also included in Jessica’s suicide note.
When quizzed by police, Jessica’s friends denied she was bullied and said she ‘gave as good as she got’.
Teacher Sarah Baron revealed the Year 8 pupil had been worried about her father’s wellbeing as he would ‘sometimes come home from work, go to his room and cry’.
Many of the domestic chores, including cooking and cleaning, fell upon her, Miss Baron added.
‘She just seemed like a child that was taking too much on for her age,’ she said.
Wendy Walsh, a pastoral adviser at the school, added: ‘Jessica felt a great deal of responsibility, not just at home but with her friends. She was a little mother hen. She loved her father very much but was worried about his emotional health.’
Senior Coroner for Cheshire, Alan Moore, asked each staff member if they ‘had been made aware of an incident in 2016, where Jessica had seemingly been bullied at school’.
All admitted there had been incidents of name-calling and fallouts with friends, but denied it had amounted to bullying.
They also said Jessica had never spoken to them about self-harming or having suicidal thoughts. The hearing continues.
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