Saturday 25 October 2014

'Heartbroken' Irish teen killed herself, inquest told

Pat Hurst

Published 24/06/2014 | 06:32

Thinkstock Images
Thinkstock Images

A 15-year-old girl hanged herself after splitting up with her boyfriend, an inquest heard.

Helena Farrell, whose family comes from Galway, had been “heartbroken” after the break-up her brief relationship with William Williams (16) while they both studied at Kirkbie Kendal School, in Kendal, Cumbria, in north west England.

Miss Farrell told the boy she also suffered bulimia brought on after being sexually molested while on a school exchange trip.

The youngster was a “high achiever” at school, played hockey and was a gifted cellist, the inquest at Kendal County Hall in the UK heard - also attending the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

Her body was found hanging in woods near her home in Kendal on January 4, 2013.

Her father Enda Farrell, a former councillor, and mother Maria Farrell, a GP, listened as their daughter's former boyfriend told the hearing he never had any inkling she would kill herself.

Mr Williams, now 18, said in October 2012 she messaged him on Facebook, they saw each other at school and started going out together.

But there was a “drift away” from each other after he was off school with tonsillitis and they broke up in a tearful phone conversation.

Miss Farrell told him she had been sexually assaulted by a 25-year-old man while on a school trip to Germany. She ran off and was sick - which started her vomiting after meals, the inquest heard.

The young couple remained friends but some time after the break-up Miss Farrell called her ex to say she was at home alone and had taken paracetamol tablets.

He rushed to her house with his father but when they got there found her parents at home and they checked she was safe.

Mr Williams said: “I genuinely didn't know what to think. Everyone told me she was never going to do anything.

“I thought maybe she was feeling down and needed help.”

Miss Farrell was seen by the school nurse and school counsellor and the family GP, Dr Amy Lee.

Dr Lee spoke to Miss Farrell on December 13 at her surgery, but said the teenager gave no suggestion of any risk to herself or others and expressed no suicidal thoughts.

But at a house party they both attended on December 15, 2012, he kissed another girl and Miss Farrell found out, had a break down in the kitchen of the house and tried to cut herself on the stomach.

The next day at school he was made aware of “farewell” letters in her school bag that Miss Farrell had written.

Coroner Ian Smith asked Mr Williams: “Was that another attempt to get you back?”

Mr Williams replied: “I don't know.”

On January 4, 2013 he was revising for exams at home when around 5.40pm he noticed missed calls on his phone from Miss Farrell so he called her and she said she was “in the hills”.

Mr Williams continued: “I knew where it was, where we first met. She said goodbye.

“I said, 'Helena please, stop this, come back, we can sort it all out.'

“Then she said, 'I love you,' which she had not done for a long, long time, then she hung up. Then she texted me saying, 'Thank you for everything' and that's the last thing I heard.'

“I never thought she would do anything.”

Her parents were called, Mr Williams, with his father and mother, went to the scene and police were called.

Claire Ashcroft, representing Miss Farrell's family at the inquest, asked him about what she said about the incident in Germany.

Ms Ashcroft asked the witness if he felt Miss Farrell had mislead adults who tried to support her or tried to “minimise” her feelings about her “vulnerabilities” over bulimia and what happened in Germany.

The inquest continues.

Press Association

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