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Soul-searching over tragic girl
3:40pm Thursday 5th September 2013 in News
LESSONS will be learnt from the death of a 12-year-old Evesham girl who was found hanging in her bedroom earlier this year, Worcestershire County Council has pledged.
Simon de Montfort Middle School pupil Katie Webb died on Wednesday, April 24, after being found by her mother with a scarf tied around her neck at home in Burlingham Avenue.
She was airlifted to Birmingham Children’s Hospital but was found to have died at the scene. At an inquest on Monday at Stourport Coroner’s Court, coroner Geraint Williams said there was not sufficient evidence to prove she had killed herself, or died as the result of an accident.
He recorded an open verdict and said there was no evidence she was being bullied.
The inquest was told a social worker had visited the family’s home weeks before her death, following concerns raised about comments Katie had made in a diary about being hit by her mother and sometimes being left without any food, but the investigation was dropped after Katie told a social services worker it had never happened.
Mr Williams said he was concerned the social worker had not seen the diary when he spoke to Katie and did not return to speak to her again once he had read it.
“The other concern I have is that Katie was interviewed at home, not with her parents but with them in the building, where a child could feel some pressure,” he said. “I am concerned about that.
“I accept that this is a judgement call, how these matters are dealt with, but I am anxious about these matters.”
However, he said he respected the decision to close the matter on Tuesday, April 23 – the day before Katie died – had been made after careful consideration, although he was concerned neither the Webb family nor the school, where teachers had raised concerns about the diary, had been informed.
“It’s of some concern to me that the circle was not completed,”
Mr Williams added.
“We are all too well aware from matters of national tragedy that where there is not communication there is often failure and harm to children.”
At the inquest Katie’s father Daniel said he had an argument with her two days before she died which he described as “mine and Katie’s very first spat”. He said he “put it down to hormones”.
Just after midday the next day he heard a loud scream from his wife who found Katie with a black scarf around her neck.
Worcestershire county councillor Liz Eyre, said: “We have been supporting the coroner's office with their enquiries and will of course consider the information that has been heard during this inquest.”
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