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Last Updated: Monday, 13 September, 2004, 07:58 GMT 08:58 UK
'Suicide' survivor was expelled
Rebecca Ling
Rebecca Ling remains in hospital in Birmingham
A 14-year-old girl whose friend died after an apparent suicide pact was expelled from school over claims she had intimidated other pupils.

Rebecca Ling remains in hospital after taking a suspected overdose with her friend, Laura Rhodes, who died.

The family of Laura, 13, from Neath, have said she was bullied at school.

But the head teacher of Turves Green Girls' School, in Birmingham, said Rebecca was excluded from the school last year.

The head, Sara Brehony, confirmed to BBC Radio Wales that Rebecca was transferred to a behaviour centre in the west Midlands.

However, Brian Walls, Rebecca Ling's grandfather, said allegations that she had bullied pupils at her former school were "rubbish".

Rebecca remains in hospital in Birmingham and police are still waiting to talk to her about the incident.

Laura Rhodes
An inquest into Laura Rhodes' death is due to be opened

An inquest into Laura Rhodes' death, which was due to be opened on Monday, has been postponed until later in the week.

The inquest, which was due to be held at Swansea coroner's court, was expected to hear details of the circumstances surrounding Laura's death.

Laura took a suspected overdose of prescription drugs with Rebecca, hours after returning to Neath after running away to Bath.

Last week, Laura Rhodes' father, Michael, 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 come across it in her belongings.

They plan to release the letter after Laura's funeral.

'Only do good'

Mr Rhodes said he hoped the words written by his daughter would help other victims of bullying.

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

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

A date for Laura's funeral has yet to be set.

In a statement earlier in the week, the family said Laura had left Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School, in Neath, 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 and said that looking for a single reason for Laura's death was "premature and simplistic."

Laura wrote 'bullying' letter
11 Sep 04  |  South West Wales
Suicide pact girl leaves hospital
08 Sep 04  |  West Midlands


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