A YOUNG girl threw herself in front of a train after abusive messages received on social networking sites drove her to search the Internet for ways to kill herself, an inquest heard.
Tragic Natasha MacBryde, 15, searched on Google for ways to commit suicide by jumping in front of a train barely an hour before her death in February this year, a jury at Worcestershire County Coroner’s Court was told on Thursday.
During the evening of February 13th, the court heard that Natasha typed “easiest ways to jump in front of a train”, before accessing two encyclopaedia websites detailed suicide methods.
Coroner Geraint Williams described the content of the web pages, one hosted on the popular ‘Wikipedia’ site, as containing a ‘whole raft of methods and details’ regarding suicide.
He said that the second website accessed by Natasha “seemed to be indicating the best way of doing it”.
Mr Williams said that the websites advised people to commit suicide by train “at night, so there is less chance of being seen. Do it somewhere rural where no-one’s around and matters of that kind.”
Natasha’s mother, Jane, said that she had been a keen piano player, but had become “more involved in her laptop rather than going out and doing other hobbies.”
She said that Natasha, part of a group of girls known to classmates as “the ten”, had come home from school two weeks before her death complaining that she wanted to leave school.
After discussions with Natasha, Mrs MacBryde spoke to one of her friends, a member of the same group, who said that it was “her turn to be picked on.”
Mrs MacBryde explained: “Her friend told me in that group of ten there is always one that is being picked on, and it was her turn at the moment.”
Mrs MacBryde added that she attributed this to typical behaviour of teenage girls.
She said: “With groups of friends and girls there is always a bit of jostling for top position.
“It seemed to sort itself out.”
Mrs MacBryde also told the court that she had not noticed any behaviour that she considered to be a ‘warning flag’.
Det Supt Shanie Erwin of British Transport Police said that they had searched Natasha’s laptop and mobile phone during their investigations into her death, finding possible evidence of bullying.
The court heard that Natasha had received a message on the social networking site ‘Formspring’ – where users can leave anonymous questions – calling her a ‘slut’.
The message, left on the day when Natasha died, read: “You are a f*cking slut hiding under all your make-up.
“You think you are pretty and all the girls love you.
“Newsflash. It’s called ‘acting’.
“Start acting nicer or you will lose everyone.
“Mark my words.”
Natasha had replied to the message, simply typing: “who are you?”
Det supt Erwin also told the court that Natasha had had an argument with a friend on Facebook.
She said that Natasha had told the friend that she was feeling depressed “but had gotten over it”, which led to an argument about the nature of depression.
After the argument was resolved, det supt Erwin said that Natasha’s friend sent her a message asking if she was ok.
Natasha replied: “Yeah, I’m just going to miss you.”
The court also heard that Natasha received a message from a boy she had been ‘fond’ of, who had since moved to London, after the exchange with her friend.
He had told Natasha: “Hi Tash, I think we should just stay friends now as I don’t want to hold you back”.
She replied, “ok, see you too”.
A post-mortem into Natasha’s death concluded that she had died as a result of multiple injuries.
The body of Natasha was discovered in the early hours of February the 14th this year.
Coroner Mr Williams also criticised people who set up ‘trolling’ websites, where Internet users mock families of people who die in tragic circumstances.
Addressing the jury of six men and three women, he said: “I anticipate that none of you will have heard of ‘trolling’.
“It appears to be a fairly vile and disgusting habit where people set up fake websites after the death of an innocent person and post foul and disgusting comments on them.
“That has happened in Natasha’s case.”
He added that the person responsible had been caught and prosecuted, although they had no personal links to Natasha.
He said: “If I had my way he would be here so we could deal with him as well.
“It has caused so much upset to this family.”
Speaking about Formspring, he said: “A lot of the comments on that website are just gratuitously abusive.”
The hearing continues.