‘No evidence’ that Lutterworth suicide teen was bullied online

Hannah Smith, who was found dead on August 2, 2013
Hannah Smith, who was found dead on August 2, 2013

An inquest heard that there was no evidence that a Lutterworth teen who hanged herself was bullied online in the weeks before her suicide last year.

Hannah Smith was found dead by her sister Joanne in her bedroom of her Central Avenue home on August 2 last year.

The 14-year-old had hanged herself.

After her death, abusive messages were found directed at Hannah on the ask.fm social media website.

However, at her inquest, at Leicester Town Hall today (Tuesday, May 6), Detective Wayne Simmons said investigators had discovered that the abusive messages had been sent from Hannah’s own ask.fm account, and had all been sent from two addresses, hers and her mothers.

The inquest heard evidence from Hannah’s father David Smith, who said Hannah had often been bullied because of her eczema.

However, Mr Smith said Hannah had also been the victim of a physical attack just months before she killed herself.

He added that Hannah had always been open with him about bullying and he had also had long discussions with her about self harm – adding that he had once been contacted by a teacher at Lutterworth High School saying that they were concerned about Hannah self harming.

Hannah’s sister Joanne said she and Hannah were very close and had shared almost everything.

Despite that, she said Hannah’s death had come as a complete surprise, especially as she had seemed her usual, happy self the evening before her death.

The inquest was told Hannah had posted a number of messages to friends on Facebook on the evening before she died, including one at about 1.21am which appeared to be a farewell message.

Lutterworth High School head teacher Nora Parker said they had no records of being contacted about Hannah being bullied at the school and she said that a teacher would never contact a parent over the telephone to say that a student was self harming - as this would usually be escalated by having meetings with parents and referring students to a GP.

Police who investigated Hannah’s internet usage found that she had two Facebook accounts – one of which blocked family members.

Det Simmons told the inquest the owners of ask.fm had contacted the police a few days after Hannah’s death to offer their help and they had made the records of messages on Hannah’s account available to officers.

Coroner Catherine Mason recorded a verdict of suicide.

She said: “With it clearly being indicated in Hannah’s own hand, and with her knowing of the outcome of that act, the verdict I must return is that of suicide.”

After the inquest, Nora Parker, of Lutterworth High School, said Hannah was still very much in the thoughts of everyone at the school.