BRIXHAM College student Izzy Dix hanged herself with her school tie after telling her mum that bullying at the school was ‘making her life hell’, an inquest was told.
The 14-year-old was a star pupil with dreams of attending Oxford University but was taunted for her accent, picked up when living in Australia, and for wearing skirts that were longer than other girls.
An inquest in Torquay heard that on the day she died Izzy had met the headteacher of the school to discuss the bullying.
That evening she had a tearful discussion with her mother and later hanged herself.
The inquest was told that although there were a accusations of bullying at the school a police investigation had found no evidence of Izzy being the victim of any cyber-hate campaign on the internet.
Later outside the coroner’s building in Torquay family friends expressed their dismay at the police findings and said they were convinced bullying was a ‘major factor’ in her death.
Isobella Dix, known as a Izzy, was born in Torquay in March 1999.
She lived with her mother in Glenmore Road in Brixham having previously lived for periods of time in Australia.
In a statement her mother Gabrielle said she had three close friends who ‘all went around together’ until it was decided in July that they be split up in an effort to make new friendships.
Izzy ‘found this difficult’ to do but attended Sea Scouts and had an interest in joining Brixham Yacht Club. She was also a member of Amnesty International.
She was described as the star pupil of the year in English.
But after coming back from the summer holidays she had been ‘bullied in and out of school by both boys and girls’, her mother said.
"Izzy was picked on for being bright and for wearing a longer skirt than other girls,” her mother said.
It was suggested she move class but she thought this would be unfair because she liked the teachers.
She thought she would have the ‘mickey taken out of her’ if she went to student support, because pupils associated it with less able pupils.
On September 17 she texted her mum to say she wanted a long chat about the day she’d had at school.
That in itself as not unusual but ‘one particular girl had made her life hell and it had not been noticed by the supply teacher in the class’.
Her mother went to Tesco to get her a treat and later Izzy lay on the sofa at home watching TV.
In the evening the pair argued and Izzy swore at her mum.
Her mum told her she had to find a way to deal with her friendship issues and the other students picking on her. She told her lots of people loved her and she was there to support her.
Shortly before midnight her mother looked in on her to say goodnight but found Izzy on the floor.
She was wearing her pyjamas and a dressing gown and had used her school tie to hang herself.
“I knew she was dead but I hoped she wasn’t,” said her mother.
Hysterical she fled into the street.
A neighbour, Victoria Campbell, heard an ‘awful wailing scream’ that sent shivers down her spine.
She ran outside, as did other neighbours, to find Izzy’s mother in a distraught and frantic state.
Police were on the scene shortly after 11.30. They took over from neighbours who had tried to revive Izzy. Paramedics arrived a short time later but the schoolgirl was pronounced dead at 12.30am.
DC Diane Brugge, of the child protection unit in Torquay, headed an investigation into the death.
She could find ‘nothing at all which suggested any bullying going on’ via the internet, although she accepted there was ‘some suggestion’ of bullying at the school.
There was no third party involvement, she concluded.
Ian Arrow, coroner for Torbay and South Devon, recorded that Izzy had taken her own life.
Cause of death was hanging. There was no alcohol or drugs in her system.
The coroner said it was not the role of the court to say why Izzy had taken the course of action she did.
He said it was clear from her diary entries that there had been ‘clear tensions in Izzy’s life at the time of her death’ and there was ‘significant personal and emotional turmoil’, in her personal life.
But he said it was clear she had been given the support of the school and teachers.
He read an extract from Izzy’s diary from September 13 which he said was one of the final entries indicating a happy state of mind.
“Been in the UK for two years, OMG. Geography, physics was good. Miss read my work in English.”
She said she had been to the Sea Scouts with her friends and it had been ‘such a good night’.
After the hearing Annie Hargreaves on behalf of the family said: “It is the considered opinion of the Izzy Dix Memorial Campaign that bullying was a major factor in Izzy taking her own life.
She said the conclusions reached by the police investigation were ‘fundamentally flawed’.
A spokesman from Brixham Community College said: "Any school would have been proud to have Isobella Dix as a student. She was blessed with abilities beyond her years, and had a real drive to do well. Izzy was destined for great things: she aspired to go to Oxbridge, and there is no doubt that she would have achieved this. Brixham Community College embraced Izzy's individuality, and she played a full part in College life.
"The healing process for the College community, both students and staff, will continue, and it will take a long time for us to come to terms with our loss. The task of the College, like all schools, is to continue to support vulnerable students in order to ensure that this tragic event is not repeated.
"At this time, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Izzy's family and friends."