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Open verdict in inquest into death of Evesham schoolgirl Katie Webb
AN OPEN verdict has been recorded in the inquest of a 12-year-old girl from Evesham who was found hanged in her bedroom in April.
Simon de Montfort Middle School pupil Kate Webb died on Wednesday, April 24 after being found by her mother hanging from a scarf at their home on Burlingham Avenue.
At today's inquest at Stourport Coroner’s Court her father Daniel said he said he had an argument with his daughter two days before she died, which he described as: “Mine and Katie’s very first spat”.
However, he said he had calmed down after a while, saying: “I put it down to hormones”.
But just after midday two days later he heard a loud scream from his wife.
“I went straight to where the screaming was coming from to see Anne holding Katie and screaming “help me, help me, help me”,” he said.
His daughter had a black scarf wrapped around her neck which he was able to pull off and tried to give her CPR, despite not knowing how.
“Then this really nice man pulled me out of the way and said ‘You’ve done enough, let someone who knows what they’re doing try’,” he said.
“I just broke down.”
She was airlifted to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, but was found to have died at the scene.
When asked what he thought his daughter was doing with the scarf - which belonged to Mrs Webb - around her neck, he responded: “I haven’t got a clue”.
The inquest heard Worcestershire County Council’s social services division had placed Katie under a Child Protection Plan in 2010 following concerns around neglect, but this had been downgraded to a Child in Need Plan in May 2012 after the family made good progress and was removed entirely in September that year.
But it was reactivated the following March after it was found a diary Katie had been asked to complete contained statements such as: “If I don’t do my chores I will get a whack”.
However, both her parents denied this was true and she later told a social services worker it had never happened and the case was closed on Tuesday, April 23 - the day before she died.
Coroner Geraint Williams said there was no evidence that Katie had been bullied either at school or online and recorded an open verdict, saying he did not feel he had enough evidence to confidently record a verdict of suicide or accidental death.
Addressing Mr and Mrs Webb, he said: “There’s absolutely nothing I can say that makes this look better”.
“This will never, ever go away for you but it will get easier to live with and frankly that’s all you can hope for.”
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