A sixth form student at a private boarding school was found hanged just hours after watching the last episode of a Channel 4 black comedy series, an inquest has heard.
Rebecca Haley, 18, was discovered in her room at Gresham’s School in April the morning after watching the last episode of Flowers, a six part series starring Olivia Colman.
The inquest in Norwich heard how the teenager had become ‘upset and emotional’ after watching the series, in which a character tries unsuccessfully to kill himself in the opening scenes.
The ‘highly intelligent’ teenager had a history of depression and had tried to kill herself before, the inquest heard.
Her friend, Hannah Rice, said in a statement the pair had watched the last episode of Flowers together.
She said: ‘At the beginning of the week long series, a character tried to hang himself, but by the end of the week he was happier.
But she added that they had both been left ‘upset and emotional’ by the programme which dealt with ‘issues around suicide and depression’ and had hugged each other before going to bed.
Rebecca was found hanging in her room at Britten House at Gresham’s School when staff went to wake her up at 7.30am on April 30.
Julie Simms, matron, said she hadn’t noticed any difference in Rebecca’s behaviour describing her as ‘a typical teenager who felt life was unfair, but had a sense of humour and would have a laugh.’
The inquest heard how Rebecca had been referred to mental health services from the school’s medical centre.
The 18-year-old, who lived with her mother Patsy Haley in Barking, near Stowmarket, had a history of self-harming and taking medication for depression.
But she had asked that her family should not be told about how she had seen mental health services while away at her boarding school.
Ms Haley, 47, said in a statement that her daughter had suffered from depression since the age of 13 and had self harmed and taken overdoses, but had never wanted to open up about her mental health issues.
The inquest heard that Mrs Haley was separated from Rebecca’s father Julian Haley, 46, who lives in Jamaica.
Rebecca had begun to see Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust in May 2015 for treatment for her depression.
Al Bailey, a deputy services manager at the trust, said a review after Rebecca’s death had found that she had received inadequate care as a care plan had not been drawn up and no risk assessment carried out for her.
However, Patrick Draper, her case manager for the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust said he began dealing with Rebecca in May, 2015, for her depression.
She denied that she had any issue with bullying or difficulties at school, but she made him think that she had “a long standing issue” which she did not want to discuss.
Norfolk area coroner Yvonne Blake recorded a narrative conclusion, saying Rebecca had a history of depression and self harm and had declined ‘various therapies offered to her’ while taking medication.
She added: ‘I am not satisfied to the criminal standard that Rebecca appreciated the consequences of her actions.
‘I think there was a lot going on. She had seen a very emotional programme with her friend which had been on all week. It was noted by her friend that they were both upset by it. Her friend didn’t suffer from depression, but Rebecca did.
‘She suffered from anxiety and low self esteem and her friend mentioned she was sad about leaving school.
‘Traces of medication were found in her bloodstream which shows she was taking it, but we don’t know how often.
‘It’s clear she was a highly intelligent girl. I get the impression that she thought very deeply about things. Intelligent people can over-think things.
‘There was no note or any element of any planning. It was very sudden and I think she acted impulsively.’