Schoolgirl killed herselft after being ‘overwhelmed’ by social media

A 12-year-old girl who hanged herself was influenced by social media and felt ‘emotionally overwhelmed’, a coroner said on Tuesday.

Jessica Scatterson, from Dallam in Warrington, was found dead in her bedroom on 22 April 2017 with the word RIP written on her heel.

In the days before her death, Jessica exchanged ‘unpleasant’ messages with her school friends and uploaded posts that had suicidal nature.

Alan Moore, the senior coroner for Cheshire, said: “It is clear to me that Jessica must have felt emotionally overwhelmed at the time she took her own life.

‘The level and the intensity of her activity on social media platforms, particularly in the build-up to her death, cannot have failed to have influenced her thinking, her state of mind.”

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Drawings and notes containing references to death and suicide were found in the room of the 12-year-old girl days after she committed suicide. The notes included the name of an alleged school bully.

Mr. Moore said that this is ‘highly significant evidence because it demonstrates a clear intent on Jessica’s part to take her own life and it also indicates the means at which she intended to do so.’

The teaching staff agreed at the inquest that there were fallouts with friends but according to them, that was not bullying.

The girl had told her teachers that she was estranged from her mother and her father, Christopher Scatterson, 41, would ‘sometimes come home, go to his room and cry’.

Rachael Warburton, Jessica’s mum, told the inquest that the girl ‘was mocked by friends because she did not have a mother.’

A few hours before the killing, Jessica had posted a list of reasons why she would kill herself, including a picture of her foot with RIP written on it.  The girl’s friends called the police after seeing the harrowing messages on her social media.

Mr Scatterson discovered his daughter in her bedroom. Jessica was treated by paramedics but she was pronounced dead later in hospital.

The coroner heard that the12-year-old girl had previously tried to harm herself, but neither her parents nor the teachers at Panketh High School were aware of that.

Jessica died only seven months after the 14-year-old schoolgirl Molly Russell took her own life after seeing suicide and self-harm posts on social media.

The Government is currently putting a responsibility on social media to protect users by restricting posts about anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide.

‘The pressures young people are under are extraordinary. Young people don’t have the skills to cope with such overwhelming emotions.’ said Wendy Walsh, an emotional wellbeing coordinator.

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