Hannah Smith inquest hears she may have posted 'hate messages' herself

Police officer says there's no evidence of cyber-bullying

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The Independent Online

A British teenager who was found dead after allegedly receiving hate messages on the social media website ask.fm may have posted them herself, an inquest has heard.

Hannah Smith, 14, was found dead at her Lutterworth home in Leicestershire on 2 August last year. Her parents had said the 14-year-old was regularly bullied on the question-and-answer website.

But Detective Sergeant Wayne Simmons, of Leicestershire Police, said on Tuesday that on the "balance of probabilities" the "vile" messages that appeared on the site were posted by the teenager herself.

Asked by the Leicester and South Leicestershire coroner Catherine Mason if there was "any evidence" Hannah Smith was subjected to cyber-bullying, Mr Simmons said: "No, there isn't."

Ms Mason said there was evidence Hannah had been subjected "to behaviour that was not acceptable" in the months leading up to her death, and had discussed bullying with both her father, older sister and friends.

"Having looked into all matters in relation to social media sites, self-harming and bullying I have not received any evidence that there would have needed to be the involvement of any agency that could necessarily have prevented Hannah taking the action as she did on 2 August 2013," the coroner added.

Ms Mason recording a verdict of suicide praised the teenager as "intelligent, bright, clever, and bubbly", and offered her condolences to the young girl's family, including her father David Smith and older sister, 17-year-old Joanne Smith - both of whom gave evidence at the hearing.

Following her death, Mr Smith had called for a clampdown on internet trolls and accused ask.fm of attempting to "cover their backs". Ask.fm has yet to comment.