Eight-year-old found hanged in her bedroom

Social services and police investigations begin into the death of a young girl with learning difficulties
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The Independent Online

An eight-year-old girl with learning difficulties has been found hanged at her home in Mansfield.

The girl, named locally as Charlotte Moody, was found early on Saturday morning by her parents in her bedroom at home. A post-mortem examination carried out at Leicester Royal Infirmary on Saturday night confirmed the cause of the girl's death as hanging. A five-year-old boy living in the same home was taken into care while the street was temporarily closed as a full forensic examination of the scene took place.

Specialist police officers are working with social services at Nottinghamshire County Council to find out how the death happened. The girl's parents, Simon and Susan Moody, are in their early thirties. Police confirmed they were interviewed under caution, but were not arrested. Sources close to the investigation said the girl's death appears to have been a tragic accident.

Detective Superintendent Adrian Pearson, the head of Nottinghamshire Police's public protection unit, said: "We are investigating the full circumstances of this death with our colleagues at children and young people's services. Detectives have interviewed both the girl's parents, while a five-year-old boy who was also living at the address has been taken into local authority care. The inquiry is at a very early stage."

No one was in yesterday at the rundown Edwardian terraced house where the girl was found dead. A bunch of flowers and a card were left at the door. One woman, a neighbour who did not want to be named, said: "I don't know the people myself but it's so sad what has happened."

And a 21-year-old student, who did not want to be named, said the family had lived in the house for "about six or seven years".

"I was asleep when I heard her mother screaming," he said. "There were a few police cars, a couple of ambulances and a doctor. The mum was screaming and crying her lungs out. Her dad's eyes were all watery like he was trying to keep his emotions in."

He added: "I have been here a long time and they are an all right family. The girl never came out and they were really quiet."

A handful of young children hang themselves each year in the UK, both in suicides and by accident. Coroners have often found it extremely difficult to establish the motive behind such deaths. Councillor Philip Owen, in charge of children's services at Nottinghamshire County Council, confirmed that Charlotte was known to the local authority.

He said: "We are working alongside Nottinghamshire Police's public protection unit. Obviously they are investigating the circumstances of the death and a post-mortem examination has been carried out which has simply confirmed the girl's death from hanging.

"She was known to the department as she had learning difficulties but officers are now reviewing all the paperwork to get a full and complete picture into what has happened.

"Her mother had been in care as a younger person and the daughter was suffering from learning difficulties so all the paperwork and case history will be reviewed as part on the ongoing process," he said.