Sunday 18 March 2018

'I am fat, worthless and ugly': the diary entries of ballet dancer Tallulah Wilson who died after being hit by a train

Tallulah Wilson, a gifted young dancer, died after being hit by a train on October 14 2012. Photo courtesy of The Evening Standard.
Tallulah Wilson, a gifted young dancer, died after being hit by a train on October 14 2012. Photo courtesy of The Evening Standard.

A gifted young dancer who died after being hit by a train had described herself as "fat", "ugly" and "worthless" in her private diary and other writings, an inquest has heard.

A diary found by transport police after the death of Tallulah Wilson, 15, showed her to have written on one page "I am fat", another the words "what am I? You are nothing" with a third just repeating the word "fat."

In a separate document, the teenager had written "worthless" with this word repeated several times, followed by a page with just the large black-inked words "ugly," St Pancras Coroner's Court in north London heard.

Addressing the jury at the inquest, Mary Hassell, senior coroner for inner London north, said: "I presume you will have seen a photograph of Tallullah - a very lovely looking young woman."

The diary entries were revealed after the court heard yesterday that Tallulah had become so obsessed by the internet that she had created a fantasy cocaine-taking character in order to escape reality.

The court also heard how the teenager, who died after being hit by a train on October 14 2012, would go online and post pictures of her self with self-inflicted cuts.

Detective Sergeant Adrian Naylor, of the British Transport Police, said materials including computers, diaries and a journal had been taken from her home as part of that investigation into her death.

He told the hearing there had "disturbing writings relating to self-harm and self-loathing" in a journal that was taken from the house.

One picture of self-inflicted injury on a computer had been captioned "my arm", he said.

Asked by Ms Hassell if there had been any "particular trigger" for Tallulah's actions, he said: "There is no specific trigger, it is a culmination of what appears to be relationship breakdown with people on the internet, concerns about self-appearance and basically engaging with people with like-minded people who seemed to feed that obsession."

Peter Laycock, a dance teacher and lecturer at The Place, in central London, said Tallulah had started a GCSE dance course at the centre in January 2012.

He described her as a "very prominent and well-liked" member of the group, which met on Sunday mornings, saying the teenager supported other students.

"Tallulah was naturally very gifted at dance, she also had a brilliant sense of humour and was very helpful and was in many ways the most able of the students in that group I think because she had attended other classes in the building previously," he said.

"Initially when the course began, Tallulah really stood out as being one of the more gregarious characters in a very positive way," he said.

He said teaching staff had noticed a change in the teenager after the February half term break.

"I contacted Tallulah's mother Sarah because I was concerned that she was losing motivation or that she was not happy with the course," he said.

"She seemed to have started in such a positive, enthusiastic way."

He said it felt as if Tallulah had did not have the "same spark."

Asked by Ms Hassell how he dealt with the apparent gap between Tallulah's confidence in dance school and her private writings in which she described herself as "fat" and "ugly" Mr Laycock said: "It is something I struggle to reconcile."

"She was one of the two most gifted dancers in the group, she also had experience in creating dances," he said.

"Tallulah was at the top of her game in all areas. I think perhaps surrounded by a group of much more nervous young people she felt that she could be more confident in that setting," he said.

He said the last dance session Tallulah attended was on October 7, a week before she died.

Mr Laycock said he had grown his moustache over the holidays and had it curled up.

He said when he was looking through the window of the class before entering, Tallulah had spotted him and made a twirling motion and smiled at him.

He said the teenager had later referred to him as "Dali" - in a jokey reference to the surrealist artist.

He said she left the session after having done some "brilliant" work on a duet with one of the other students. He said Tallulah had said "I cannot wait to continue".

"We felt that she was on a much more upwards trajectory at that stage," he said.

A Samaritans spokeswoman said: "We would encourage anyone who is struggling to cope to contact our helpline for support, we are here 24/7 every single day of the year to listen to whatever it is that's getting to you, on 08457 909090 (UK) and 1850 609090 (ROI), or email us at: visit our website for your local branch:

Lindsay Ancock, head of inclusive education at St Marylebone School in central London, was asked about a claim by Tallulah's mother that she was bullied there.

"There was no specific incident that would enable us to investigate persistent and regular bullying," she told the hearing.

The court was told Tallulah started at a new school, the fee-paying St Margaret's School in Hampstead, north London in September 2012.

The court heard the "very, very small" school has only 156 pupils. Brendan Benson, Tallulah's form tutor at the school described Tallulah as a "charming, very charming" girl. He said Tallulah was "very sociable" and had quickly made friends at the school.

Recalling a conversation he had with the teenager's mother, he said: "She told me that Tallulah had been bullied at her previous school, that she had some depression issue and she had done some cutting herself but she was relatively well now."

The inquest was adjourned until tomorrow when medical evidence is expected to be given.

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