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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 September, 2004, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
Laura wrote 'bullying' letter
Laura Rhodes
Laura would be 'ecstatic' at being able to help others, her father says
The father of a teenage girl who died in an apparent suicide pact said he will release a letter she had written about being bullied after her funeral.

Michael Rhodes said he hoped the words penned by his 13-year-old daughter would help other victims of bullying.

Laura Rhodes, from Neath, south Wales, died a week ago taking a suspected overdose with her best friend.

Rebecca Ling, 14, from Longbridge, Birmingham, survived and was released from hospital in Swansea on Wednesday.

A nationwide hunt was launched after the girls disappeared from Neath train station when they had gone to see Rebecca off home after she joined Laura's family holiday in Crete.

The girls has just returned to south Wales after being found in a B&B hotel in Bath when Rebecca revealed they had taken overdoses.

If it can help other parents and other children it can only do good
Michael Rhodes

South Wales Police, who are investigating the incident, said earlier this week that they did not believe bullying was a factor in the teenager's death.

But her parents insist she was "extensively bullied" .

Mr Rhodes said he and his wife, Yvonne, had been aware that their daughter had written an open letter about her experiences at the hands of bullies, and had this week come across it in her belongings.

'Beyond words'

Now they plan to hand out copies after Laura's funeral.

"It is sad and poignant. I cannot explain really," said Mr Rhodes, 50.

"You cannot put it down until you finish it - it is beyond words sometimes.

"It cannot help me, it cannot help my wife, it is too late for Laura.

"If it can help other parents and other children it can only do good.

"Sometimes parents are not aware of what bullying can do."

He said he believed Laura would be "ecstatic" at the thought she might help someone else.

"Laura would only help people, there was not a nasty bone in her body," he added.

Taunts

A date for Laura's funeral has yet to be set. Police are still waiting to talk to Rebecca about the incident.

In a statement earlier in the week, the family said Laura had left Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School after a year and attended the Bryn-Coch Centre in Neath, which is a pupil referral unit.

"Laura left Cefn Saeson because she was terrified of the remarks and the taunts she endured every day," her parents said.

They acknowledged that bullying was not the sole reason for what happened to Laura but they said it was a factor.

Peter Rees, chairman of the governors at Cefn Saeson, had already said the school was conducting its own internal inquiry into the affair.

Mr Rees read a school statement which said: "To attempt to find a single reason for these events is premature and simplistic."


SEE ALSO:
Suicide pact girl leaves hospital
08 Sep 04  |  West Midlands
Missing teenage girls found
03 Sep 04  |  South West Wales


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