Devastated teen who never got over father's death hangs herself in the same spot in the woods a decade later
An inquest has heard that a 15-year-old girl, who was devastated by the death of her father, was found hanging in the exact same spot where he killed himself about a decade prior. Mia Bell of Alfreton, Derbyshire, was found hanging in the woodlands close to her home by a group of children. The teen was described as being an "outgoing and happy child" until her father Steven committed suicide in 2008 when she was only 6-years-old. Mia was never able to get over the loss of her father and she went into the woods regularly to be close to him.
The Daily Mail reported that on the day she took her own life, Mia was helping out in the garden and her relatives there did not suspect that anything was wrong when she told them that she was going to the private spot before property developers started building houses on it. The Chesterfield Coroner's Court heard that a group of children had approached a dogwalker nearby and had told him that they had "seen a demon in the woods".
The court heard how the man went immediately to the spot to investigate the children's claims and dialed 999 when he found Mia. The paramedics arrived at the scene and instantly began giving the girl CPR after which they were able to regain a pulse. The teen was taken to King's Mill Hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottingham, and was then transferred to Nottingham's Queen's Medical Center. Unfortunately, Mia deteriorated very quickly and passed away on August 31, 2017.
The inquest that was held on December 14 heard that the teen was troubled and that she had a history of self-harm and hearing voices. She had suicidal thoughts regularly and had many hallucinations. Mia most often spoke of a "little girl with black hair" who "told her to hurt herself".
The court also heard how Mia used to be a happy child who loved going for sleepovers and parties until Steven killed himself in 2008. It is said that after the incident, she "became quite withdrawn". Mia would leave behind gifts of beer, flowers, and notes for her father when she went to the spot regularly where he committed suicide.
When Kelly Duffield, Mia's mother, started a new relationship, the teen had many difficulties accepting her new stepfather and formed a "perceived rejection". Even though the family tried very hard to make her feel loved and included in everything, Mia moved out of the house after some time and moved in with her older cousin, Carissa Bell, after a formally arranged foster agreement was made. Carissa was said to be a "nurturing" figure in the teen's life. She also told that the teen had seemed "very happy".
On the day the tragedy occurred, Mia was said to have been happily helping out in the garden. Carissa said: "I had no reason’ to suspect anything was wrong. Mia’s dad’s ashes were never buried, they were in storage. She didn’t have a grave she could go to, so instead, she would visit the woods. The day she left, she told me she was going out to the woods before ‘they were taken down’ as the area was being redeveloped for housing. I didn’t think I had any reason to worry, as it was such a regular thing."
Mental health experts who worked with the troubled teen in the months that led up to her suicide gave evidence in court and said that they were "optimistic" that she was improving. Chris Kirk, a clinical pathway lead at Derbyshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS), said: "Mia was a very pleasant young lady who had been through some difficult times emotionally."
He continued: "When it comes to the loss of her dad, I don’t know if a permanent resolution could ever have been found. But we were looking at ways of helping her cope and, to my mind, things seemed to be getting better." Young people's counselor at Speaksafe Relate, Sue Towers, said: "Mia seemed to be improving and was responding really well to counseling. I was so proud of her."
Peter Nieto, the assistant coroner for Derbyshire, concluded in the court that Mia had died from hypoxic brain injury and hanging. He said that the teen had undertaken a "deliberate act". He added: "Mia had written three notes which were found near to her which clearly read as suicide notes. She had chosen the place of her father’s death and his death clearly preoccupied her."
If you or anyone you know is struggling mentally or emotionally, feel free to reach out to: Papyrus, Prevention for Young Suicide: 0800 068 41 41 | Samaritans: 116 123 | Childline: 0800 1111