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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 September, 2003, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
'Bullied' girl killed herself
Kirsty Botto
The school denies Kirsty was bullied by her peers
An inquest has heard how a schoolgirl who had complained that she was being bullied was found hanged at home.

The body of 13-year-old Kirsty Botto - who had told her mother that she was being bullied by someone living close by - was found in her bedroom at the family home in Landore, Swansea.

Pc Steven Daniels told the inquest at Swansea that Kirsty had been a victim of bullying by members of a neighbouring family.

"Kirsty began having problems with a particular family in the area, one of whose members bullied her, amongst others," he said.

"Kirsty became so afraid of this person that her mother bought her a mobile telephone so that when she was out, if she saw this bully, she could ring her mother for a lift."

Police later discovered a letter in a drawer in her bedroom which the inquest was told made clear that she had intended to take her own life.

After Kirsty's death it was revealed that she had also been upset about the death of her grandmother and that of a boy, Ross Hooper, a pupil at her school, Pentrehafod Comprehensive.

Ross, 13, collapsed and died after sniffing fumes from an aerosol can in January 2002.

Just a few weeks after Kirsty was found dead, her close friend and schoolmate Jade Hughes, aged 14, of Plough Road, Landore, committed suicide, hanging herself from a railway bridge.

At the inquest into her death, her mother insisted Jade had not been the victim of bullying and had not been involved in a suicide pact with Kirsty.

Following the inquest into Kirsty's death on Tuesday, Pentrehafod School head teacher Gordon Cook issued a statement, denying there had been any bullying by fellow pupils.

Ross Hooper
Ross Hooper attended the same school as Kirsty
"We would like to express our condolences and feelings of loss and regret following the tragic death of Kirsty Botto to all her family and friends," he said.

"Youngsters and teachers in the school have been deeply affected by what has taken place.

"Many are continuing to grieve the loss of a friend and pupil.

"We are working in co-operation with the local authority and ChildLine to provide services for the youngsters to help them through this difficult period.

"We are certain there was no bullying of Kirsty by her peers inside the school.

"Any and all reports of bullying at Pentrehafod School are taken seriously and all are investigated with action taken in all cases where appropriate.

'Condolences'

The local education authority also issued a statement sending its "deepest condolences" to Kirsty's family and friends.

"The council's Education and Social Services Department, in conjunction with health services, have worked closely to support Kirsty's friends and fellow pupils at Pentrehafod School," the statement said.

"We will continue to provide the individual or collective support and action that is needed to promote and safeguard their welfare."




SEE ALSO:
Mother denies 'copycat' hanging
16 Apr 03  |  South West Wales
Mother's grief for teenager
15 Jan 02  |  Wales



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