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Elisabeth Lowe: Schoolgirl hanged herself because she was scared to tell her parents she might be gay
The parents of a teenage girl have spoken of their anguish after she hanged herself over fears of telling them she was gay.
In the months before her death, Elisabeth Lowe, 14, known as Lizzie, had confided to pals that she thought she might be a lesbian, an inquest heard.
Her friends said she was scared of telling her parents and had struggled to reconcile her feelings with her strong Christian faith.
However, her father said her fears were “misplaced” and that she would have received a “wealth of love and acceptance.”
The alarm was raised after Lizzie sent a text to a friend at around 8:30pm on Wednesday, September 10, which concluded by saying “….stay strong. I am sorry”
The pal told her mum who in turn alerted Lizzie’s parents and the police, sparking a desperate search for her, the Manchester Evening News reports.
She was eventually found hanged in the Millgate Fields area of Fletcher Moss Park in Didsbury, Manchester, at around 11:15pm.
Despite extended resuscitation attempts by paramedics, Lizzie, of nearby Dalston Drive, could not be saved and she was pronounced dead shortly after midnight.
A post mortem examination concluded she died from the effects of hanging and that she had no drugs or alcohol in her body at the time of her death.
Manchester Evening NewsTributes left for Elisabeth Lowe
She also had no diagnosable mental health problems.
Some of Lizzie’s friends all admitted to a coroner that they had shared a feeling of ‘sadness’ with Lizzie and they had regularly talked with her, both in person and over texts and Facebook messages, about self-harming and having suicidal thoughts.
One told the Manchester hearing that Lizzie, a top performer at school and a member of the Scout movement and a musician in a Christian orchestra, had told her that cutting herself was a “coping mechanism.”
Another said she was “finding it hard to connect with God as she thought she was lying to him.”
The police detective who oversaw the investigation into her death said he could rule out any third party involvement.
Det Insp David Turner said: “Despite the fact that suicide was clearly an issue with these children, I found no evidence of what is sometimes called a ‘suicide pact.’”
In the witness box, Lizzie’s tearful dad Kevin, an engineer, said he and her mother had no idea about the issues she was grappling with.
He said: “She was just normal and seemed happy. There was nothing to suggest she was distressed or had any issues.
“She was very mature, she knew what she wanted and she knew her own mind.”
Manchester Evening NewsShaken: Friends and family left tributes for Elisabeth Lowe
Asked how the family would have reacted if she had spoken to them about her sexuality, Mr Lowe said: “It wouldn’t have come as much surprise.
“She was very much a tomboy.
“In fact she was more of a boy than some of the boys were, so it would have been no surprise at all.
“We would have been very supportive.”
The principal of Parrs Wood High School, where Lizzie was a pupil, told the inquest the incident had “shaken their sense of reality.”
Andrew Shakos said immediately after the incident, several pupils were referred to a psychologist with more staff being made available for youngsters to talk too.
However, Senior Coroner Nigel Meadows said the school couldn’t have done any more to pick up on her distress.
Recording a verdict that Lizzie killed herself, Mr Meadows said: “She was clearly an intelligent young woman.
“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.”
Manchester Evening NewsTouching: Handwritten notes at the scene of Lizzie”s death
He concluded that Lizzie did intend to kill herself and carried out the act.
Mr Meadows also issued a plea to all youngsters to talk to an adult if they had any issues or concerns.
Speaking after the hearing, Lizzie”s parents said: “Lizzie was a wonderful, exuberant and loved member of her church, school and community.
“She was a gifted student, sports woman and musician who was outgoing, fun loving and enjoyed the love and respect of many friends.
“We are utterly devastated at losing her.
“Lizzie did not make known her struggle with depression and the challenges she tried to face alone as a young adult.
“We wish she had confided because she would have found a wealth of love and acceptance and support.
“The loss our precious daughter has left us heart broken-hearted.“
For confidential support on any issue call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or visit www.samaritans.org