Beverley Teen Death inquest

7 December 2012, 15:36

A 14 year old girl from Beverley, 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 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 the 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 Jessica was found dead in a wooded area to the rear of Chester Avenue, Beverley, on August 26, having hanged herself, although “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, and had a number of appointments before being discharged at the end of February.

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

She also reported that she had been raped but later withdrew the allegation and in March, a fire officer alerted the authorities after Jessica set fire to the curtains in her bedroom while lighting pieces of paper in a bin.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council earlier announced that it would launch a serious case review into Jessica's death and Jessica's family have urged people to seek help for themselves or for their friends if they are feeling depressed or suicidal, and not to “suffer in silence.”


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