Ellie Soutter missed flight to training and felt she 'let her team down' before killing herself
Tony Soutter breaks his silence on his daughter Ellie's suicide and says that she felt she let people down by missing a flight to Team GB training
Ellie Soutter committed suicide on July 25, the same day she turned 18. Days after her death shocked the world, her father Tony Soutter has said that he believes pressure for competing in high-level sport might have got the best of her. Ellie was found dead in a remote woodland near her home in the French Alps last week. Many people took to social media to pay tributes to Ellie and described her as one of the most notable young athletes. While Ellie loved what she did, Tony believes that her desire to be the best and not to let anyone down might have had something to do with her sudden death.
Speaking to BBC South East, Tony revealed that Ellie's history of mental health issues along with the constant pressure to excel might have triggered her to commit suicide. "She wanted to be the best," he said. "She didn't want to let anybody down. Unfortunately, it all came about from missing a flight which then meant she didn't go training with the GB squad." Ellie could not stop herself from thinking that she had let people down.
"She felt she'd let them down, felt she'd let me down and just tragically it just takes one silly little thing like that to tip someone over the edge because there's a lot of pressure on children," he said. Tony believes that, just like Ellie, there might be many young athletes who face the same pressure every day.
In his view, it is important to ensure that people have awareness of what is mental health. "Mental health awareness needs to be really looked at and made more public," he said. "I have lost my best friend, my total buddy. She was my rock." The news of Ellie's death was confirmed by Tony who took to Facebook to break this devastating news. “This cruel world took my soul mate and ‘Bessie’ from me yesterday on her 18th birthday," he wrote. “I was so proud of the beautiful young woman she had turned into. Ellie, I will miss you more than you could have ever imagined. Rest in peace you little champion!"
He further added that the family was hosting a toast for the life Ellie lived and encouraged others to join. "For those who would like to toast her amazing short life we will be raising a glass in memory of her this Friday 6.30pm at the Crychar Les Gets." The British Olympic Association also paid their respects to Soutter as chairman Hugh Robertson and athlete commission chairman Ben Hawes came forward saying, "Ellie was an incredibly popular and well-liked member of the team. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time," he further noted.
Her uncle, Jeremy also remembered his niece's sweet and caring nature. "She was her bubbly, effervescent self at the wedding. She enjoyed it so much," he said. "She was in great spirits and was really just the lovely Ellie that she is. You could never have anticipated this."