FILED IN: Bullying

Girl bullied over her weight kills herself — coroner blames media

Fiona Geraghty, Image via Facebook

Fiona Geraghty, a 14-year-old British student at King’s College in Taunton, hung herself in her family’s home in July of last year following what her parents say was bullying about her weight from schoolmates. Fiona had been struggling with bulimia before her death.

At an inquest regarding her death, the coroner, Michael Rose, blamed images in the media for the girl’s death. “The one class of person not here who I feel [is] directly responsible for what happened is the fashion industry,” he said.  “I do ask, particularly the magazines in the fashion industry, to stop publishing photographs of wafer-thin girls. I do implore it, because at the end of the day for their benefit, families like this must suffer. It is, I am afraid, an increasing problem and until they control themselves it will continue.”

Fiona’s mother, Dr. Elspeth Geraghty, claims she told the school about her concerns for her daughter they did not take her seriously. It was a headmistress at the school who first alerted Dr. Geraghty that her daughter had been vomiting after eating. “Fiona said she started vomiting following taunts about her size,” said Dr. Geraghty. She also cites an essay Fiona wrote about her eating disorder and “self loathing”, but instead of causing alarm, Fiona received a good grade for the paper.

Also testifying at the inquest was a mental health nurse, Ross Gillanders, who saw Fiona four times before discharging her from treatment, and rated her a one on a one to ten scale of suicide risk, with ten being the most extreme risk.

The head teacher of King’s College, Richard Briggs, says that there was no bullying, but rather “a clash of personalities common in girls of that age”. The girls at the school also deny bullying Fiona. The coroner agreed that the school was not at fault, but did express concern about the work of the mental health nurse.

Facebook page was created to remember Fiona. It was full of birthday wishes on May 6th, when she would have turned 15.

Sources: BBC NewsBBC NewsThe Guardian