A Derbyshire teenager was found hanged in the same spot where her father took his own life when she was six-years-old, an inquest heard.
Mia Bell, 15, was found hanging by a group of children in woodland near her home in August 2017.
Chesterfield Coroner’s Court heard that the children approached a passing dog walker who headed over to investigate after they told him they had ‘seen a demon in the woods’.
Upon finding Mia, the dog walker immediately alerted the emergency services who performed CPR and managed to regain a pulse.
Mia, a pupil at Alfreton’s David Nieper Academy, was taken to King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton and transferred to Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre, but deteriorated quickly and died on August 31.
The inquest, held on Friday, December 14, heard that Mia was a troubled young woman with a history of self-harm and hearing voices.
She also intermittently suffered from suicidal thoughts and hallucinations, and spoke of a vision she sometimes had of a ‘little girl with black hair’ who ‘told her to hurt herself’.
The court heard that Mia had been an outgoing and happy child who loved attending sleepovers and parties, until her father Steven committed suicide in 2008.
Mia ‘became quite withdrawn’ and never got over the loss of her dad, regularly visiting the spot where he took his own life and leaving beer, flowers and notes.
When mum Kelly Duffield began a new relationship Mia had difficulties accepting her stepdad, forming a ‘perceived rejection’ that caused her to leave the family home despite their best efforts to make her feel loved and included.
In a formally arranged foster agreement, Mia moved in with her older cousin Carissa Bell, who was a ‘nurturing’ figure in her life, and seemed ‘very happy’.
The day Mia died, she had cheerfully been helping out in the garden that morning and Carissa had ‘no reason’ to suspect anything was wrong.
Carissa said: “Mia’s dad’s ashes were never buried, they were in storage. She didn’t have a grave she could go to, so instead she would visit the woods.
“The day she left, she told me she was going out to the woods before ‘they were taken down’ as the area was being redeveloped for housing.
“I didn’t think I had any reason to worry, as it was such a regular thing.”
Giving evidence at the inquest, mental health professionals who worked with Mia in the months leading up to her death said they were ‘optimistic’ that she was improving.
Chris Kirk, clinical pathway lead at Derbyshire CAHMS, said: “Mia was a very pleasant young lady who had been through some difficult times emotionally.
“When it comes to the loss of her dad, I don’t know if a permanent resolution could ever have been found.But we were looking at ways of helping her cope and, to my mind, things seemed to be getting better.”
Sue Towers, young people’s counsellor at Speaksafe Relate, said: “Mia seemed to be improving and was responding really well to counselling. I was so proud of her.”
Assistant coroner for Derbyshire Peter Nieto concluded that Mia died from hypoxic brain injury and hanging, and had undertaken a ‘deliberate act’.
He added: “Mia had written three notes which were found near to her which clearly read as suicide notes.
“She had chosen the place of her father’s death and his death clearly preoccipied her.”
Tributes left to Mia on Facebook describe the teenager as a ‘beautiful, caring and lovely’ girl who ‘never failed’ to ‘make people laugh and smile’.
There are a number of helplines available for young people struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Papyrus, Prevention for Young Suicide: 0800 068 41 41
Samaritans: 116 123
Childline: 0800 1111
Or text YM to YoungMinds Crisis Messenger 85258.