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London - A girl of 15 killed herself by lying in front of a train after visiting websites which promote self-harm and suicide, an inquest heard on Thursday.
Rosie Whitaker, a talented ballet dancer who had performed at the Royal Opera House, suffered from bulimia and had scratched the word ‘fat’ across her stomach when she died.
The inquest was told she had been a happy girl leading a full and normal life until the beginning of the year.
She had become stressed by the ten GCSEs she was taking which exacerbated her eating disorder.
She had admitted to her mother that she had self-harmed and had visited self-harming websites before her death in June close to her home in Beckenham, south east London.
Campaigners are calling for the Government to act to prevent the vulnerable being influenced by such websites after a second 15-year-old girl died in similar circumstances last month. Tallulah Wilson, who had said she was a friend of Rosie’s, was hit by a train at St Pancras station in London after visiting a website about self-harm and anorexia.
Rosie’s mother, Vanja Whitaker, said in a statement read to her inquest in Croydon: “She was a perfectionist, very particular about her school work. Rosie made those around her laugh. She didn’t judge anybody.
“She cared for people, and was leaning towards a career as a social worker or in psychology. I noticed that she was self-harming. She apologised and promised to never do it again.” She said her daughter had been referred to the adolescent specialist anorexia unit at King’s College Hospital in south London.
She said: ‘She was treated for her eating disorder, but I thought that rather missed the point. She was still self-harming.’
Mrs Whitaker, who did not attend the inquest, recalled in her statement a conversation she had with her daughter on the night she died.
She said: “I spoke to her and told her she needed to tell me where she was going and when. I told her I loved her and that
“I would speak to her the next day. That was the last time I spoke to her.” Witnesses said they saw Rosie lie on the tracks at Beckenham Junction station as a train hurtled towards her.
Train driver Andrew Pagram said he saw a shadow drop on to the tracks but thought it was a plastic bag or a piece of discarded advertising, so did not immediately brake.
“Eventually the head-lamps picked up a girl on the tracks looking straight up at me.
“She was two to three seconds away,” he said.
“I broke as soon as I realised what had happened. I still see the image of the girl looking straight up at me.” After her death, Rosie’s family said in a statement in June: It appears she was, unfortunately, heavily influenced by websites and online communities promoting self-harm and suicide.
“We hope her tragic death serves as a warning to other impressionable youngsters and their parents that such sites pose grave risks.”
Coroner Dr Roy Palmer recorded a verdict of suicide.