Girl, 12, killed herself after abuse on school laptop during lockdown

Girl, 12, killed herself after abuse on school laptop during lockdown

October 6, 2020

Mother of bullied girl, 12, who killed herself after being called a ‘lesbian emo freak’ on school laptop during lockdown slams health bosses over ‘missed opportunities’ to save her daughter’s life

  • Charley Patterson, 12, was found dead by her devastated father on October 1
  • She took her own life after vicious bullying both in the classroom and online 
  • Her mother took her phone but Charley needed to use laptop during lockdown
  • Devastated mother Jamie, 35, has called for more to be done to protect children  

The mother of a bullied 12-year-old girl who took her own life after being called a ‘lesbo emo freak’ on her school laptop during lockdown has criticised health bosses for missing opportunities to save her daughter.  

Charley Patterson, from Cramlington, Northumberland was found dead on October 1 by her devastated father after being taunted both in the classroom and online.

She had first tried to take her life last November, before trying again in March. 

In an attempt to protect her daughter, mother Jamie, 35, took away her phone and other electronic devices. 

However, when schools were forced to close because of the coronavirus lockdown, Charley had to use a laptop to work and was bombarded with sickening abuse, leading to a further deterioration of her mental health. 

Now, mother Jamie has slammed health bosses and said there were missed opportunities to save her daughter’s life.

Charley Patterson, 12, was found dead by her devastated father on October 1 after being bullied by classmates

Charley Patterson, 12, with her mother Jamie, 35. She had first tried to take her life last November, before trying again in March after being abused both online and in the classroom

She is calling for legislation to be introduced to ensure children who are struggling receive help quickly after they were told there was a three-year waiting list for Charley to receive help from a mental health service.

Jamie said: ‘Charley was not your typical girly girl. She was very active, and would be happiest climbing a tree.

‘She didn’t fit into any friendship group, though she did have some friends in other classes.

‘She was called a lesbo emo freak.

‘She first tried to take her own life in November last year. When people at school found out they said things to her like, ”You are so useless you can’t even kill yourself properly”.

‘They also said, ”The only way your family will be happy is if you are dead”.

‘She was receiving abusive messages on Facebook and WhatsApp. On Facebook, I blocked everyone who was sending her nasty messages, and in the end I took her phone off her.

‘But I couldn’t take her Chromebook, which is a mini laptop she has to have for school. During lockdown it was especially hard.’

Jamie says that after Charley first attempted to take her life they visited a doctor who advised she keep a diary of her feelings.

In March, when the schoolgirl injured herself again, the desperate mother says she was told by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), that they faced a wait of up to three years for help.

Jamie added: ‘This was woefully inadequate. If we’d had to wait three years for help then Charley would have been 15. It was not very helpful.

In an attempt to protect her daughter, mother Jamie, 35, took away her phone and other electronic devices. However, Charley had to use a laptop to do her school work during lockdown

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) told Charley and her family that they faced a wait of up to three years for help

‘No one should have to go through what we’ve been through.

‘We want to stop this from happening to other families. We are campaigning for the law to be changed so that help is given within a reasonable time frame.’

Charley started at Cramlington Learning Village in September 2019 after moving with her family to the area from Northamptonshire.

She’d spent three months at a local primary school prior to this in the hope she’d make friends once she joined year seven.

Jamie added: ‘The people who Charley thought were her friends didn’t want to be her friends any more. It started from the get go.

‘We spoke to the school on more than one occasion and Charley was assigned a teacher who was supposed to help, but I am not sure how effective this was.

‘During lockdown Charley really began to struggle. She wasn’t in a routine.

‘She needed her Chromebook, which has access to the internet, to do school work on. I tried to monitor her usage, but it was really difficult.

‘And of course I couldn’t take it away from her because it would have affected her learning.

‘She liked to play a game called Roadblock, and she was even getting abusive messages on that.’

Charley’s body was found by her heartbroken father Paul, a 38-year-old mechanic, last Thursday.

The family, which includes Charley’s brothers, Jake, 11, and Callum, 15, have set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money to pay for her funeral. 

Additional funds will go towards Tiny Lives at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

Writing on the page, they said: ‘This is the beautiful Charley who sadly passed away at the age of just 12 due to relentless bullying.

‘She was taken unexpectedly from her family and friends on the evening of the 1st of October 2020. Charley was a loving, kind and thoughtful young girl with the world ahead of her.

‘We never expected such a gorgeous girl to leave us so soon. She loved horses and had a gift with animals, with aspirations to be a zoo keeper.’

CAMHS, Cramlington Learning Village and Northumberland County Council have been contacted for comment.

Her family are campaigning for ‘Charley Law’, to come into force, to ensure other families receive help quickly.

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details. 

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