A coroner who performed an inquest on Monday in connection with the 2017 suicide of a 12-year-old girl said that social media played a huge role in her death.
Liverpool Echo reports that Jessica Scatterson was “emotionally overwhelmed” when she hanged herself inside her Dallam, Warrington, Cheshire, England, home, according to the coroner’s inquest report. The incident occured in April 2017 at around 3 a.m., only two days before her 13th birthday.
Shortly before her death, Jessica reportedly posted a disturbing photo of the heel of her foot in the middle of the night. She had written “RIP” on her heel, which prompted friends to call police for help.
When authorities arrived to her home, Jessica’s father, Christopher Scatterson, was awoken by Sergeant Ross Dryden, who spoke to the man through an upstairs window and told him to check on his daughter. Police then heard the man let out a pained wail after finding Jessica in her room surrounded by stuffed animals and unresponsive.
First responders tried to revive the girl, then rushed her to Warrington Hospital, where she passed away. According to Cheshire Police Inspector, Hannah Friend, authorities found several disturbing items among Jessica’s possessions, including a note insinuating suicide and a drawing of a hanged person.
During the inquest, Jessica’s teachers at Penketh High School said that the girl had been having home issues before her death, specifically with her father, who allegedly would “sometimes come home from work, go to his room and cry.”
Teacher Sarah Baron reportedly said the girl was under a lot of pressure to perform many chores at home and to help her father out, which left her depressed.
“On November 6, 2016, I was told Jessica was upset about her dad’s wellbeing and said he seemed depressed. Jessica was worried about him and was taking up jobs (around the house),” Baron said.
“She seemed like a child who was taking too much on for her age.”
Christopher Scatterson, who was raising his daughter alone, told authorities other children taunted Jessica for not having a mother around. Jessica hadn’t seen her estranged mother in years until a “chance encounter” a few weeks before the suicide. The girl’s mother, Rachael Warburton, said Jessica seemed frightened and shocked to see her.
Jessica Scatterson was found dead after posting a photo of her heel with "RIP" written on it https://t.co/1xeBhz9b8y
— Liverpool Echo (@LivEchonews) April 16, 2019
“I was driving through Bewsey after seeing family and friends and saw Jessica by a park on her own,” Warburton said, according to the Warrington Guardian. “It was a chance encounter and in the heat of the moment I pulled over. Jessica seemed shocked and frightened; it had been a number of years since we had seen each other in person.”
School staff denied that the girl had been bullied, although authorities found evidence on an iPhone and an iPad that one particular girl had been insulting and belittling Jessica. Jessica left the name of her alleged bully on scribbled notes, according to police.
In 2016, Jessica came home with scratches on her face and a black eye, according to testimony at the inquest. The little girl had apparently gotten into a physical altercation with another student.
Senior Coroner for Cheshire, Alan Moore, wrote that social media played a huge part in Jessica taking her own life.
“It is clear to me from the evidence that Jessica must have felt emotionally overwhelmed at the time she took her own life. The level and the intensity of her activity on social media platforms, in particularly in the build-up to her death, cannot have failed to have influenced her thinking, her state of mind and her intentions.”
If you or a loved one is suicidal, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline in the U.S. at 800-273-8255. For those in the UK, contact Samaritans on 116123 or Papyrus HopelineUK service at 0800 068 4141, or text at 07786209697.
[Feature Photo: Jessica Scatterson/Facebook]