Family pays tributes to Gail McKinney, 16, from Great Shelford, who took her own life — (Cambridge News)

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Cambridge News

Posted: September 22, 2014

By ELEANOR BUSBY

The family of a teenage girl from Great Shelford who took her own life have described her as the “sunshine” of their world.   Gail McKinney, 16, of Macaulay Square, was killed after taking an overdose of pills at her parents’ friends’ home in May.

A coroner recorded a verdict of death by suicide after the teenager, who was being treated for depression, took a fatal amount of tablets.  The former Sawston Village College pupil died at Addenbrooke’s Hospital on May 28 after being brought in three days before.

 The inquest in Huntingdon heard that Gail had died from a hypoxic brain injury after taking an overdose of subscribed medication.

Cambridgeshire police detective Alan Page told the coroner that, after being given permission to look through the teenager’s phones, he had found a suicide note on her iPhone.

He said: “There was a paragraph to everybody that was important in her family.”

The schoolgirl had struggled with night terrors and bullying two years before her death.   Gail, who had worked on a temporary basis in the Owl Cafe in Sawston, was first given medication in 2013 to help her condition, the coroner heard.

In a report from Gail’s GP, the teen was said she heard voices in her head and said she felt “depressed the whole time” in the month before her death.

The teenager asked her doctor if she could change her antidepressant, Fluoxetine, as she felt it was making her worse.    The medication was changed but there was no further appointment with the GP before her death.

Before recording a verdict of suicide, coroner David Morris expressed his sympathies with the family, calling it a “very painful time”.

He said: “Gail took her own life while suffering from a chronic depressive illness.    In a statement released by Gail’s parents after the inquest, they said: “Our daughter Gail McKinney was the sunshine of our world and her life has ended far too soon.

“Gail suffered with depression for many years. Depression is an illness that cannot be physically seen and led to Gail being bullied by some who did not understand the difficulties she faced.

“However, from others Gail received great support particularly from Mrs Evans and Mrs Linsey throughout her time as a student at Sawston Village College and from her great friend Aleigh Spurk.

“Our hearts are breaking at losing Gail. She is a much loved daughter, sister, granddaughter and friend and will always remain in our thoughts always.”