A 12-year-old girl took her own life after she was sent cruel messages, one of which read: “You’re useless, you can’t even kill yourself properly”.
She was also sent a video about how to tie a knot a week before she died, an inquest has heard.
Charley Ann Patterson’s dad found her body at their home in Cramlington, Northumberland, on October 1, 2020.
Her family had sought help from medical professionals after they discovered Charley had been self harming, but, they claim, her situation wasn’t taken seriously enough, The Chronicle Live reports.
During the second day of the inquest at Northumberland Coroner’s Court, a statement from Charley’s mum Jamie Patterson revealed how her daughter had been sent a message which said “You’re useless, you can’t even kill yourself properly”.
She said Charley had received messages of that nature for a while and she told her to block the group on her phone, which she did.
Jamie said that just around a week before Charley died, her daughter came to talk to her after being sent an alarming video. She said: “Approximately one week prior to Charley’s death she came to me and told me about a video she had been sent.
“She said it was a video that showed her how to tie a knot. She would not tell me who had sent this to her but she was visibly upset by it.”
Charley’s mum said she took her daughter to see her GP after she first harmed herself. She said the GP asked Charley to start writing her thoughts and feelings down in a diary. Jamie said: “I do not believe the GP took Charley’s self harm seriously, particularly due to her age.”
The hearing, sitting at County Hall in Morpeth, Northumberland, heard the coronavirus lockdown meant Charley was unable to go into school. Jamie said: “I believe, because of this, she felt very isolated.”
Jamie said Charley’s school asked the parents to pay for Chromebooks for their children so they could access remote learning. She said she believed people were chatting to each other privately in ‘break out’ rooms and the messages were not being monitored by staff.
In her statement, Jamie said Charley was later allowed to go into school two days a week and allocated a teacher for support but she never saw that teacher.
She said: “I remember one day Charley rang me at school. The teacher had her in the same bubble as the pupil she was having issues with. I offered to go into school to talk to the teacher. Charley said this would make things worse for her.”
Jamie said she noticed that Charley had self harmed for a second time and she was referred to psychiatric liaison team for an assessment for her mental health. She said: “Charley expressed she would like help with her mental health and low mood.”
She said that they were offered a telephone call or a face to face appointment. Jamie claimed she was told that her daughter would go on a waiting list and it’s likely she wouldn’t be seen for three years.
The inquest heard how Charley had an appointment with a nurse and was going to be referred to a hub for her anxiety and low self esteem. However the referral was never actually made.
Jamie said that in the summer she took away Charley’s phone and her mood really improved. She said: “She became more like her old self. When she went back to school, her attitude changed again. I noticed she was deleting messages and her phone history.
“A few weeks after going back to school Charley took her own life and our lives have not been the same since.”
Jamie, who described Charley as a “firecracker” and her “best friend”, said the family is now campaigning to improve children’s access to mental health services and reduced waiting times.
She said: “She would have been an amazing parent but she was robbed of that chance and so were we.”