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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 September, 2004, 17:54 GMT 18:54 UK
'Suicide pact' girl's tragic letter
Laura Rhodes
Laura's parents say they hope her letter will help another child
The parents of a teenager who died in an apparent suicide pact have released a letter she wrote describing how she was bullied and deeply unhappy.

Yvonne and Michael Rhodes released the 1,500-word letter after the funeral of their 13-year-old daughter Laura in Margam, south Wales.

It was discovered after her death in a Swansea hospital on 4 September.

Laura died after taking a suspected overdose of tablets with a friend, 14-year-old Rebecca Ling, who survived.

After Laura's death, her father revealed that he and his wife 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.
The reason that we want people to read Laura's story is that we want them to understand how demoralised, belittled, and helpless a bullied child feels
Michael and Yvonne Rhodes

The letter underlines her fears of bullying and her feelings of self-loathing as a result.

Her parents, who discovered Laura unconscious at their home in Cimla, had already released a statement insisting that bullying had played a part in Laura's death. Earlier, police had said bullying had been ruled out.

Laura's letter was written about the experiences she had at Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School, Neath, during her final period there.

'Escape'

She left the school for a local pupil referral unit when, her parents claim, she could no longer stand being victimised.

Parts of the letter confirmed this viewpoint with descriptions of how she would lie in bed in the morning hoping she would never have to leave home.

Laura described how she was hit by a girl, but wrote: "It didn't matter. She was still someone to follow to escape the loneliness."

Below are extracts from the letter, with Laura's original spellings:

I waited for my mother to walk in. "Laura, I am sick of running up and down these stairs, now get up." I would look at her "Mum I don't feel well. "What is wrong now?" "My tummy hurts and I feel sick". "It is a girl's thing now get up."

I did, I got up, walked over to my door, took off the school clothes, I was a shocking size 24, I just ate and ate, I didn't care any more. I shoved myself into it and went downstairs.

I put in my lunchbox and I felt my heart start to beat faster, a gripping pain inside myself, but no, this wasn't a special day, this was every day.

This had gone on for a few weeks now, I was fat, ugly and worthless, Monday, rhhh, Monday, tecnology, that wasn't to bad, maths ugh, I hope I got a chair in time, and English, oh well not to bad I guess.

I didn't care about numbers, spelling, or how many drops of acid you had inside you, all I cared about was this gripping pain every day
Laura Rhodes
There we were, outside the school, people looking at this fat lump which is myself but ohh well.

"Bye Dad, see you tonight." I did not want to leave the car, I wanted to die. I walked to the doors, I walked down the corridor, here boys standing just before the stairs, legs out, waiting to trip me up, how wonderful.

I managed to get through without making a complete prat of myself, I felt my fat wobble as I walked into the hall.

I hated it so much. I used to talk to myself in my head, only thing that kept me ok to live. I didn't know what to say, so I did not say anything and walked off.

Why were they doing this? Why me? I was fat.

Still a person, it had gone on for six months now, same thing every day. I saw some boys laughing at the fact I was fat, and possibly a 'dyke.' I wanted to cry so much, but I couldn't, I had on Friday, I can't again.

Yes, I have told my parents, they thought I just didn't like going to school, anyone else heard that one? LOL (laugh out loud).

So great, no-one believed me to start with, I just hoped like they said "they will get bored" while I got fatter and fatter and sadder and sadder. Everyone got meaner and meaner.

Oh well, Maths, I moved through the people trying to ignoring the nasty comments "Oh my God, look at the size on her!!"

I had this every morning, lunchtime, and the end of the day, you get used to it. I sat at my desk and got my books out, everyone looking at me, I felt worthless.

"Right, carry on from last week's work and we will go onto..." Her voice drifted from my mind, I didn't care about numbers, spelling, or how many drops of acid you had inside you, all I cared about was this gripping pain every day.

I got out my book and did my work, some of my mind on my work, some on my aunty, lovely lady, Rosemary, she had just been told she had lung canser, made my bit of builling seem like nothing, but it was, oh but it was.

Break, people flooding into the halls. Running, pushing people over, how much better could you get?

"Oi!! Outa the way fatty!" I just moved, I wanted to close my eyes and it all to disappear.

Only ten minutes left, thank God, I don't think I can take much more, I wanted to throw a sicky but I needed a new illness, it was tummy ach last week, I needed something new, I didn't even need to make myself feel sick, they did it for me.

They never really believed me anyway, they didn't believe I was being bullied or I was ill, LOL.

AT LAST! The final run, HOME. I rush down the road, holding the tears back. "Hiya, how was school?"

"Fine" I replyed. Didn't seem any point in saying anything else did there? They didn't listen.

"I'm going to the loo." I didn't even enter the bathroom, I went into the box room, (most people spare room) I took out sissors, I knew what I was doing, maybe this would show them what they are doing.

I draged it over my wrists a few times, the next few times pressing harder, it felt really good.

It hurt, but I pressed harder, there was a mark, a deep red one, what can I do?"

Her parents said: "The reason that we want people to read Laura's story is that we want them to understand how demoralised, belittled, and helpless a bullied child feels.

"Laura could never have known that this letter could help another child because she wrote it to try to exorcise her ghosts following her bad experience.

"She would never have imagined that anyone other than her family would be interested. We hope they are."

Peter Rees, chairman of the governors at Cefn Saeson, has 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."

Rebecca Ling did not attend Laura's funeral as she was still in hospital in Birmingham.




SEE ALSO:
'Suicide' survivor was expelled
13 Sep 04 |  South West Wales
Laura wrote 'bullying' letter
11 Sep 04 |  South West Wales
Suicide pact girl leaves hospital
08 Sep 04 |  West Midlands


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