Login Register
 °

Inquest hears 'bullied' Brixham student Izzy Dix hanged herself

By Herald Express  |  Posted: December 13, 2013

  • Izzy Dix

  • Annie Hargreaves of the Izzy Dix Memorial organisation

Comments (26)

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.

Related content

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."

Read more from Torquay Herald Express

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters

26 comments

  • BetinaBooty  |  December 20 2013, 6:53PM

    Even a deleted account will be accessible via the hard drive of a computer the web pages were viewed on. It's not difficult for the Police to access information thought deleted but stored by a computer. Just ask Gary Glitter et al. Anonymous bullying even if it did exist on a website is easily avoided by not logging on to the website. Providing your children are properly supervised, or even just chatted to occassionally you can advise them. Those who use the internet as a babysitter may have more difficulty.

  • tunip  |  December 20 2013, 6:33PM

    But evidence of a deleted Ask.fm account is only evidence if the police have been bothered to look for it, which, in this case, I don't believe they have.

  • BetinaBooty  |  December 20 2013, 4:27PM

    Correct, but just because something appears in a newspaper or is uttered by a member of the family doesn't make it true. Kate McCann left, not one, but her whole family unattended in a hotel room in a foreign country whilst she and her husband went out for an evening of pizza and wine. Yet spent the next two years appearing in the press and on TV as if she were ' mother of the year'. Absence of evidence doesn't mean something didn't happen, but if you are going to prove it in a court or expect third parties to believe it via the press, then evidence is a good starting point.

  • tunip  |  December 20 2013, 1:09PM

    With all this debate about what actually went on, can we please stop referring to what we think has happened and revert back to the words that Izzy's mum has ACTUALLY said about all of this: http://tinyurl.com/pshkcwe She explains in this article that Izzy was bullied at school, and on Ask.fm (potentially by the same people, but you'd never know that due to the anonymity feature) but that they shut down her account after they discussed the abuse she was receiving. She has never said that cyberbullying was directly to blame for Izzy's death – in fact, she's always said that it isn't. In an article published in the Irish Daily Mail on 22nd October she is quoted as saying: "Bullying is a complicated issue. I'm not blaming Ask.fm directly for my daughter's death, but I do believe that this site is harmful to young people and needs to be shut down for the safety of society." Hence the petition to raise awareness of the dangers of it as part of the wider anti-bullying campaign. The petition itself is very clear about the cyberbullying. It says: "Her death has been linked to bullying, at school, in the community and online. Some of the bullying that Izzy was so troubled over in the months before her death occurred on social media site, Ask.fm." The Coroner's Court was reluctant to use the word 'bullying' in the inquest at all… not just cyberbullying. The police said they didn't find any evidence to suggest cyberbullying – but that doesn't mean that it didn't happen, just that they didn't find any evidence of it. And why didn't they find any evidence of cyberbullying occurring on a deleted Ask.fm account? Because they didn't look. It is a common understanding that Ask.fm as a company are very reluctant to help police with any information about postings on their site. They are based in Latvia, are notoriously unhelpful, and any requests for information in the past have taken months and months to get back from them – the inquest took place only 12 weeks after Izzy's death – so to me it seems highly likely that the police haven't even been in contact with Ask.fm. We all know that they are not going to find any evidence of cyberbullying on Ask.fm from the days leading up to Izzy's death, because her mother says in the Daily Mail article above that they deleted her account prior to that. If this was a proper inquest by the Coroner, then why had he not called anyone from the school to appear to answer questions, despite the school being mentioned all the way through her mother's statement, and despite Izzy running out of one of her classes in tears the day before her death, and meeting with the Head Teacher to talk about the bullying she was suffering the afternoon of her death? Why do you think the Coroner refused to read out the first hand evidence from Izzy about the bullying she received in the poem she wrote before her death called 'I Give Up'? Because a) he is only interested in ticking the minimal administrative boxes about the death that he has to (i.e. death by hanging, suicide, no third party involvement, etc.), b) because he is protecting the school (who obviously have a major problem with their anti-bullying policy or lack thereof) and c) because he is protecting the police (whose only investigation of this appears to be taking one statement from the mother in the hours after she found her daughter's body, and finding the teenager's diary). Just because something is or isn't mentioned at an inquest, it doesn't mean it's a done deal.

  • tunip  |  December 20 2013, 1:07PM

    With all this debate about what actually went on, can we please stop referring to what we think has happened and revert back to the words that Izzy's mum has ACTUALLY said about all of this: http://tinyurl.com/pshkcwe She explains in this article that Izzy was bullied at school, and on Ask.fm (potentially by the same people, but you'd never know that due to the anonymity feature) but that they shut down her account after they discussed the abuse she was receiving. She has never said that cyberbullying was directly to blame for Izzy's death – in fact, she's always said that it isn't. In an article published in the Irish Daily Mail on 22nd October she is quoted as saying: "Bullying is a complicated issue. I'm not blaming Ask.fm directly for my daughter's death, but I do believe that this site is harmful to young people and needs to be shut down for the safety of society." Hence the petition to raise awareness of the dangers of it as part of the wider anti-bullying campaign. The petition itself is very clear about the cyberbullying. It says: "Her death has been linked to bullying, at school, in the community and online. Some of the bullying that Izzy was so troubled over in the months before her death occurred on social media site, Ask.fm." The Coroner's Court was reluctant to use the word 'bullying' in the inquest at all… not just cyberbullying. The police said they didn't find any evidence to suggest cyberbullying – but that doesn't mean that it didn't happen, just that they didn't find any evidence of it. And why didn't they find any evidence of cyberbullying occurring on a deleted Ask.fm account? Because they didn't look. It is a common understanding that Ask.fm as a company are very reluctant to help police with any information about postings on their site. They are based in Latvia, are notoriously unhelpful, and any requests for information in the past have taken months and months to get back from them – the inquest took place only 12 weeks after Izzy's death – so to me it seems highly likely that the police haven't even been in contact with Ask.fm. We all know that they are not going to find any evidence of cyberbullying on Ask.fm from the days leading up to Izzy's death, because her mother says in the Daily Mail article above that they deleted her account prior to that. If this was a proper inquest by the Coroner, then why had he not called anyone from the school to appear to answer questions, despite the school being mentioned all the way through her mother's statement, and despite Izzy running out of one of her classes in tears the day before her death, and meeting with the Head Teacher to talk about the bullying she was suffering the afternoon of her death? Why do you think the Coroner refused to read out the first hand evidence from Izzy about the bullying she received in the poem she wrote before her death called 'I Give Up'? Because a) he is only interested in ticking the minimal administrative boxes about the death that he has to (i.e. death by hanging, suicide, no third party involvement, etc.), b) because he is protecting the school (who obviously have a major problem with their anti-bullying policy or lack thereof) and c) because he is protecting the police (whose only investigation of this appears to be taking one statement from the mother in the hours after she found her daughter's body, and finding the teenager's diary). Just because something is or isn't mentioned at an inquest, it doesn't mean it's a done deal.

  • theforries  |  December 14 2013, 10:57PM

    Well Dick, if so, the bullies day will come

  • DickEddington  |  December 14 2013, 5:17PM

    Not true the forries, izzy was bullied at school, although this FACT seems to have taken second place in a press eager to batter the internet. Izzy deserves justice but please let's go after the real perpetrators and not a made up foe that just suits the presses agenda. Izzy's memory deserves as much.

    |   5
  • theforries  |  December 14 2013, 3:58PM

    Please don't post nonsensically, the end result is a little girl taking her own life, an absolutely distraught mother, and no one to blame, apparently. Hope life gets better Gabrielle x

  • DickEddington  |  December 14 2013, 10:47AM

    Omni and Suzy's petty trolling comments are a disgrace to the memory of Izzy Dix. As are complete fabrications about internet bullying. Izzy's memory deserves the truth not lies and the press furthering their own campaign to discredit the value of the internet. The internet has hit newspaper sales very badly, that is where the press are coming from. The facts and the truth please.

    |   3
  • 34Eric  |  December 13 2013, 11:47PM

    Well said Suzy.

    |   -70

      YOUR COMMENTS AWAITING MODERATION

       
       
       

      MORE NEWS HEADLINES