12-year-old bullied girl hangs herself after posting late-night picture showing 'RIP' written in pen on her heel
Jessica Scatterson killed herself two days before her 13th birthday and had posted a series of disturbing messages and images on social media on the night of her death
WARNING: This article contains details about suicide and self-harm. It could be distressing to certain readers
A 12-year-old schoolgirl killed herself after she was allegedly bullied at school, an inquest into the suicide at the Warrington Town Hall heard. Jessica Scatterson took the drastic step of ending her own life on April 22 last year, with her father finding her hanging.
According to the Daily Mail, it was Scatterson's friends who alerted the police to the possibility that she might be thinking of taking her life after the pre-teen had posted a picture of her foot and other disturbing messages on her social media account in the middle of the night.
The inquest heard that it was Sergeant Ross Dryden of the Cheshire Police who responded to the residence in Warrington at around 3:45 a.m. in the morning on that fateful day and who spoke to Jessica's father from an upstairs window. A short while later, he reportedly heard a "loud scream" from inside and rushed inside to help. Despite the sergeant's best efforts in resuscitating Jessica, who was set to turn 13 just two days later, paramedics at the scene declared her dead. Paramedic Joanne Newton testified at the hearing at she 12-year-old had inflicted cuts to her leg and had 'RIP' written in pen on her right heel.
Police also found handwritten notes inside the bedroom which inspector Hannah Friend said pertained to references of suicide. Her suicide note is also said to have named her bully. Investigators uncovered a series of scathing exchanges between Jessica and her friends on her iPad and a group photograph where one of the girls' faces had been scratched off.
Friends told the inquiry that over the course of their investigation she became aware of an incident where Jessica had seemingly been bullied in school. The 12-year-old had come home with scratches on her face and a swollen eye after arguing with another girl, who is believed to be the bully that she named in her suicide note. While the incident was reported to the police, no further action was taken.
On questioning, the pre-teen's friends denied that she had been bullied and that "she gave as good as she got." Each staff member present at the hearing was also asked if they were aware of the incident. All admitted there had been incidents of name-calling but denied that it amounted to bullying.
It also emerged that the pre-teen had self-harmed previously but had never informed her parents or her teachers at the Penketh High School where she was studying. Her teachers confessed as much during the hearing, testifying that they had never been approached by the 12-year-old to talk about these issues.
One of her teachers, Sarah Baron, revealed that Jessica was also worried about her father's well-being because he would "sometimes come home from work, go to his room, and cry." He said she "seemed like a child that was taking too much on for her age," and that the responsibility of covering for the domestic chores often fell on her shoulders.
His testimony was corroborated by Wendy Walsh, a pastoral adviser at the school who was quoted saying, "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."
Those in need of support can contact the Samaritans at 116123 or visit Samaritans.org for details on your local branch. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).