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Tuesday, February 10, 1998 Published at 15:41 GMT


Teenage bullies convicted

Five boys have admitted harassing 13-year-old Kelly Yeomans, who was found dead at her home after apparently committing suicide.

The boys, aged 13 to 17 years old, were convicted at Derby Youth Court, of intentionally harassing Kelly Yeomans in the months before she died in September, 1997.

Kelly was found dead in her bedroom at her home in Allenton, Derbyshire.

Her family claimed she had taken an overdose of painkillers because she had been hounded by bullies.

The prosecution said the Yeomans family had been harassed for several years and were known locally as the Slowmans.

Life 'made a misery'

[ image: The Yeomans suffered at their home for several years]
The Yeomans suffered at their home for several years
The court heard that the gang of five youths had thrown eggs, butter and stones at the house on the days leading up to Kelly's death.

Kelly, a member of the Salvation Army, was described as a kind and caring girl. But her parents said her life had been made a misery by the torment.

The court heard that during a police interview one of the youths said he had tormented the Yeomans family simply for fun but later wished he could say sorry.

BBC Correspondent Emma Simpson reports from the court (0'47")
The male defendants - who cannot be named because they are under 18 - were given unconditional bail to reappear for sentencing on March 4.

A 15-year-old girl who has denied a public order offence was also bailed unconditionally until her trial in April.

Detention possible

[ image: Kelly Yeomans' death shocked the community]
Kelly Yeomans' death shocked the community
Sentencing was deferred for background reports but the chairman of the bench said he could not rule out a custodial sentence on the older boys because of the seriousness of the crimes.

One of the defendant's solicitors, John Moss, described the case as a tragedy from start from finish.

He said that although the harassment did not relate specifically to Kelly's death the youths would have to live with what happened.

An inquest into Kelly's death has been opened and adjourned.

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