14 year old Elizabeth Lowe, known as Lizzie, was found hanged in Fletcher Moss Park in South Manchester.
Lizzie had confided to her close friends, prior to her death, that she thought she may be a lesbian and was fearful of her Christian parent’s reaction if she told them. Lizzie had also disclosed that she was struggling with her family’s strong Christian faith and her feelings about her religion.
At her recent Inquest her parents expressed their anguish at her death; explaining that her fears about their views of her sexuality were unfounded and that she would have received a ‘wealth of love and acceptance’.
Lizzie sent a long text to her friend at around 8:30pm on Wednesday 10th September, expressing her fears. The text concluded with ‘stay strong. I am sorry.’ Her friend was so concerned she showed the text to her mother, who in turn contacted Lizzie’s parents and the police which led to a desperate search for her. Lizzie was found in Fletcher Moss Park, Didsbury, at around 11:15pm. Paramedics arrived at the scene but despite extended attempts of resuscitation, Lizzie was pronounced dead shortly after midnight. A post-mortem examination confirmed that Lizzie had not taken any drugs or alcohol, and there were no known mental health problems.
The Inquest heard evidence from Lizzie’s friends who confirmed that she had confided in them about her sexuality, and her fears that her parents would not accept her. Lizzie had disclosed to them that she self-harmed as a coping mechanism, and had suicidal thoughts.
The police officer who conducted the investigation into her death confirmed that he had ruled out any third party involvement and confirmed that he did not find any evidence that this was part of a suicide pact.
Her parents gave evidence that they had no idea that she was struggling with such issues, as outwardly she seemed happy. They confirmed that her fears were totally unfounded and that it actually wouldn’t have come as much of a surprise.
Coroner Nigel Meadows recorded a verdict of suicide. Mr Meadows stated, as part of his verdict;
“She was a successful student but was going through issues of developing maturity and exploring her sexuality and was struggling to come to terms with that against her faith beliefs…It is clear she was struggling and she was talking to others about it…She never had the opportunity to share her concerns with her parents…But I have absolutely no doubt they would have been supportive in their reaction.”
Mr Meadows confirmed that it was his opinion that the school could not have done any more to become aware of Lizzie’s distress, and also issued a plea to young people to talk to an adult if they had issues or concerns.
Here at Farleys, our experienced Inquest team understand the distress and anguish that a death of a family member can cause. We can provide advice, assistance, and representation to ensure that you are fully supported throughout such a difficult time. It is important that your concerns surrounding the death of your family member are appropriately addressed. If you require assistance with the inquest process but are concerned about how much it will cost to obtain such representation, you may be eligible for public funding. For legal advice regarding the death of a loved one please don’t hesitate to contact our experienced Inquest department on 0845 050 1958 or alternatively you can email us.