Coroner Condemns 'Foul And Disgusting' Online Bullies Who Targeted Suicide Girl, 15

Coroner Condemns 'Foul And Disgusting' Online Bullies Who Targeted Suicide Girl, 15

A coroner has condemned 'vile and disgusting' internet 'trolls' who hijack memorial pages to mock the dead.

Geraint Williams spoke out at the start of an inquest into the death of public schoolgirl Natasha MacBryde.

He was told she threw herself under a train within hours of being sent an abusive message by an anonymous bully on a social networking website.

The site, called Formspring, allows users to post messages or questions anonymously, and has previously been linked to the suicide of an American student.

The inquest heard yesterday that 15-year-old Natasha had also been teased by members of an all-girl clique at her private school in the weeks leading up to her death.

Her body was found beside railway tracks just 150 yards from her home in the early hours of St Valentine's Day this year.

The previous evening she had searched online for the 'easiest way to jump in front of a train'.

Natasha was abused online before and after her tragic death.

Within a week of her death, a Facebook tribute page of Natasha had been targeted by bullies, who branded the promising athlete a 'whore' and made sick jokes about her death. A revolting video was posted of Thomas the Tank Engine with Natasha's face superimposed.

The coroner explained to the jury that this practice, known as 'trolling', was a 'fairly vile and disgusting habit where people set up fake websites after the death of an innocent person and post foul and disgusting comments on them.'

He added: 'That has happened in Natasha's case.'

Mr Williams said that a person responsible had been caught and prosecuted, and added: 'If I had my way he would be here so we could deal with him as well. It has caused so much upset to this family.'

The jury inquest heard the Royal Grammar School Worcester pupil had been branded a '******* slut hiding under all your make up' on the Formspring site on the evening of her death.

The message continued: 'Start acting nice to people or you will lose everyone. Mark my words.'

Natasha had replied to the message, simply typing: 'Who are you?'

At the time of the tragedy it was claimed Natasha had been teased by pupils over her parents' break-up. She and her older brother had moved out of the family home with their mother.

Mrs MacBryde told the inquest at Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, that her daughter had been teased by a clique of girls at school who called themselves The Ten, but the reasons why were not explained.

Natasha died of multiple injuries after walking to a section of railway line north of Bromsgrove station and being hit by a train.

The nine-person jury recorded a verdict of suicide after less than an hour of deliberation.

After the hearing, Natasha's parents said it appeared that a 'combination of circumstances came together' in her mind to 'create an intolerable situation for her, when she was already dealing with the normal difficulties of teenage life'.

They issued this statement:

'As a family, we continue to deal daily with the impact that the terrible loss of Tasha has had on all of our lives. She was a bright and beautiful girl whose smile and sparkle lit up not only our world, but also that of her friends and all who knew her.

'Beyond this loss, the struggle to understand why she took such a devastating path has made the pain even more difficult to bear.

'The inquest has been an agonising process for us all. It has, however, enabled us to get closer to Tasha, by seeing more of what she kept to herself, together with some of the aspects of her life that she was struggling to deal with.

'It seems that a combination of circumstances came together in Tasha's mind to create an intolerable situation for her, when she was already dealing with the normal difficulties of teenage life.

'We believe that the evocative lyrics of one of her favourite songs, 'Grenade' by Bruno Mars, coupled with access to certain websites suggesting such actions, caused her to make such a sudden drastic and uncharacteristic decision.

'The family believes that the anonymous postings on the 'Formspring' social networking website were a significant contributor to the events on Sunday, 13 February, and we seek to understand the motivation of those who choose to send spiteful and vindictive messages to their peers. We can only hope that lessons have been learned.

'We miss Tasha immensely, she was a beautiful and talented daughter and we are grateful to have had her in our lives.'