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Police: UK teen not likely bullied online

May 6, 2014

LONDON (AP) — A police investigation into the suicide of a 14-year-old British schoolgirl found Tuesday it likely that she — not online bullies — had posted abuse about her on social media.

The death of Hannah Smith, who was found hanged in her bedroom in August, drew widespread attention in Britain and sparked a debate about cyber-bullying and children’s safety on the Internet. Smith’s father had said she killed herself after receiving anonymous bullying messages on a social networking site, and he had called for tighter controls online.

But an inquest into Smith’s death heard that although the teenager was bullied at school and at a party five months before her death, there was no evidence she was subjected to cyber bullying in the run-up to her death. Detective Sergeant Wayne Simmons said strong evidence suggested Smith posted the “vile” messages about herself on social media.

Concluding the inquest, coroner Catherine Mason said that while it was understandable that Smith’s family and friends believed the online messages caused her to take her life, investigations showed that the postings likely could not have come from anyone else.

“The evidence I have was that on the balance of probabilities they would all have been at Hannah’s own hand. Why she did it, I don’t know,” she said.

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