Kelly, harassed, bullied and taunted to death

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The Independent Online
A TEENAGER subjected to a campaign of bullying and intimidation by other schoolchildren killed herself because she was harassed at school and felt victimised at home, a coroner said yesterday.

Recording a suicide verdict on the 13-year-old Kelly Yeomans, coroner Peter Ashworth called for people to treat each other with "kindness and respect".

"If anything good can come out of this, it may be that the publicity can teach people how horrible youngsters and sometimes adults can be to each other," he said.

The inquest heard that Kelly took an overdose of tablets after she was repeatedly bullied about being overweight and unfashionable.

In the run-up to her death, eggs had been thrown at the family's front door in Derby and Kelly and her older sister, Sarah, had been verbally abused.

Kelly was found dead by her unemployed father, Ivan, in her bedroom in September last year. A post mortem examination showed she had swallowed 13 times the minimum lethal dosage of the drug co-proxamol, a drug normally used by her mother, Julie, for a knee complaint.

Julie Yeomans told the coroner's court at Derby University that Kelly had been teased at the city's Merrill College and had been assaulted.

On one occasion, she had her new glasses smashed by a bully. On another, her new training shoes were thrown into a bin, along with her school bag.

Mrs Yeomans said she had been to the school to complain 30 times, but nothing had been done: "The bullying at school started from day one, from when she first went two years ago. They mainly teased her because she was overweight and this really upset her."

Kelly, a keen member of the Salvation Army, had been extremely frightened by what was going on.

A pornographic picture of a woman and a fake pounds 10 note had been posted through the door as well as eggs being thrown at her house.

Mrs Yeomans said that Kelly had spoken about killing herself a few days before she took the overdose.

"She said, `It is nothing to do with you daddy, nothing to do with you mummy, and nothing to do with you, Sarah. I have had enough and I'm going to take an overdose'," Mrs Yeomans said.

Mrs Yeomans said although she believed her daughter - whom she described as being a bubbly and caring girl - was upset, she did not think she would kill herself.

One of the teenager's tormentors told the court that he would verbally abuse her because she was "odd".

Kelly was known as Fatty, Tramp or Slowmans and wore unfashionable clothes and was introverted, the 17-year-old told the court.

Michael Shaw, principal at Merrill College, said it had a strict bullying policy and pupils were spoken to about harassing Kelly, who was on the special needs register.

The inquest heard that when police searched Kelly's room after her death they found a note in a carrier bag written by the teenager claiming that her mother and sister were picking on her.

Wendy Butler, a former neighbour, said she saw Kelly being treated "like a little slave" by her mother.

But Mrs Yeomans said: "She may have thought this was the case, but all we were trying to do was to help her. I loved my daughter."