Teenager 'starved herself to death'

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The Independent Online
LOUISE JURY

Police are investigating claims that an overweight 14-year-old who starved herself to death was bullied and that doctors failed to take her condition seriously.

Elizabeth Dawson, known as Tizzy, died after her weight fell from 16 stone to 8 stone in four months, despite her family's pleas to her to eat.

Last night, her father Albert Dawson appealed to other teenagers not to follow his daughter's example. He also claimed she did not receive appropriate treatment at Maccles-field hospital. "Every time she went in there, they said 'Playing up again?' - making out she was not ill. She was ill, she was crying out for help," he said.

The family had wanted her to go an eating disorders clinic, but had been unable to get a referral, he claimed.

Mr Dawson said Elizabeth moved from Tytherington School to Ryles Park High School in Macclesfield after she was teased, but the problem continued. "I told the school it was about time they did something about it. She missed a lot of school because she was loath to go, but they wouldn't appreciate quite how much bullying went on."

A Cheshire police spokes-man said the force was undertaking a "full and thorough investigation" into Elizabeth's death - the cause of which has not been officially established - because of the suggestion that she had been bullied and that the hospital had not taken her condition seriously.

A spokesman for Cheshire Education Authority said: "Elizabeth was given a great deal of help by the school she attended. We shall be happy to answer any queries the police may have." East Cheshire NHS Trust launched its own inquiry the day after Elizabeth's death on 3 August. A spokesman said inquiries to date had "discovered nothing to suggest that the care afforded was other than entirely appropriate".

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