Sian Yates - 13 years old
Bullycide in the United Kingdom
suicide after repeated bullying for being Welsh
11th June 2007
A top pupil was found hanging at
her home after classmates had teased her for being Welsh.
The only Welsh girl at her school
in Leicester, the teenager - described by her former head teacher as "an
amazing and popular student" - had been bullied by a jealous classmate,
the inquiry into her death has heard.
Sian Yates, 13, was discovered by
her older sister, suspended by a belt from her bunk-bed in March this year,
the hearing at Leicester Town Hall was told.
An internet page "related to suicide
and details on how long it took to become unconscious and how long various
things would take to do" was then found, recently accessed, on the family's
home computer, the sister told police.
Sian Yates was a model student taking
French and art exams early. An undated note discovered by her bed revealed
she had been unhappy at home and at school for months and was "tired of
the punches, slaps and abusive words".
But she had not been bullied in the
months leading to her death, said teachers and friends in evidence, and
had seemed her normal happy self on the day she died.
Sian had become a model student at
Riverside Business and Enterprise College, in Rowley Fields, Leicester,
the inquest was told. She excelled in most subjects and even took her French
and art exams early. She took part in school plays, played the violin and
was praised for helping younger pupils integrate into school life.
But the talented youngster was also
experiencing the kind of problems common in schools across the country.
She had been bullied, felt under pressure to get good grades and worried
about her relationships with friends, the inquiry was told.
In the previous academic year, head
teacher Bernadette Green was forced to intervene when the Year 9 student
was picked on by a classmate. "There was an issue of Sian being bullied
at the end of year 8 by a girl who was taking certain lessons with Sian,"
the teacher told the inquest.
"It was usually name calling ...
jealousy by this student."
Ms Green spoke to the bully and the
name calling - including "blonde bimbo" and jibes about her Welsh family
links - stopped, the inquest was told.
When later asked by the head if she
had experienced any more problems, the pupil told her "not a peep".
Ms Green said: "She said nothing
to worry me or concern me. She seemed very at ease with what she was doing.
She was very happy.
"She was an extrovert. She was the
life and soul of her class and tutor group. She excelled at everything.
"She did not give us any reason
to believe she was not coping. All of her teachers said she seemed to be
taking it all in her stride."
But a best friend revealed the teenager
had spoken about killing herself in the weeks before her death.
In a written statement to police,
the classmate said: "Sian had told me she had been trying to kill herself
for four months. I was shocked by this and had no idea she was doing something
"She said she felt stressed and under
pressure and everyone expected her to do well. Her friends seemed to be
changing and she felt left out sometimes.
"We felt she would not do this and
would not go through with it. On that day Sian seemed her normal self."
Sian was found hanging at her home
in Danvers Road, Leicester, on the afternoon of March 1.
Her father, a first aider, arrived
soon after she was cut down by her mother and sister and he gave his daughter
CPR. The teenager was taken to Leicester Royal Infirmary where she was
Mr. Yates, giving evidence, said:
"I have no idea why she did it, not an inkling. I think it seems she might
have tried to get some esteem with some of her school friends but it went
Recording a verdict of suicide, coroner
Martin Symington said: "It's not entirely clear what was the cause for
her to do this. But clearly she was in the early stages of puberty and
emotions were very much awry. "There were issues that perhaps you
and I would consider quite trivial, but for Sian they were probably very
Samaritans, the charity which provides
confidential support to people in emotional distress, said it had been
warning about the dangers of so-called suicide websites and chatrooms for
more than two years. Spokesman Mike Cobb said: "The charity says that too
many of them show step-by-step methods to young, vulnerable, even unwell
people on how to take their lives and have no balance whatsoever - in that
there is no alternative offered, no support given.
"Suicide is often presented as the
only option to solve what are usually very minor and very temporary problems,
which could be resolved simply by opening up and talking to friends and
family, or alternatively to an organisation such as Samaritans, which is
here 24 hours a day to help people with emotional problems." He added that
Samaritans continues to work with the internet industry to promote the
charity's own website www.samaritans.org in order for support to be made
available when a variety of search phrases are typed into search engines.