Girl died trying to scare mother

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The Independent Online
A GIRL aged eight who hanged herself with her skipping rope was only trying to frighten her mother, a coroner decided yesterday.

The Salford coroner, Martin Coppel, was told that Marie Bentham had been sent to her room as a punishment after a fight with her sister Gemma, five, on 2 January. The girls' mother, Deborah Bentham, 29, went to Marie's room in Salford, Greater Manchester, an hour-and-a-half later to find her daughter hanging from her wardrobe by a skipping rope.

Marie was taken to hospital where she later died.

Ms Bentham told how her daughter missed her father, Phil, who died aged 40 from a heart attack when Marie was five. Her daughter had shouted: "I hate you, I want my dad" when she was sent to her bedroom. Ms Bentham also told the court her daughter had been picked on at school because her father had died. She added: "I went to the school and sorted it out. They let her help out in the classroom in the morning instead of joining the other children in the playground. She seemed much happier."

Recording his verdict of accidental death, Mr Coppel said he could only conclude Marie had wanted to "frighten" her mother. He did not believe the bullying had driven Marie to kill herself or that she wanted to be with her father.