A 15-year-old girl who hanged herself in an apparent gothic pact was a believer in “white magic” and had a history of self harm, including an earlier suicide attempt, a Sydney inquest has been told.
But she was also an “exceptional” student, dancer and musician, a close friend told Glebe Coroner’s Court.
The teen and her 23-year-old boyfriend were found hanging in a NSW south coast granny flat in October 2004.
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Their bodies were marked with satanic carvings.
The pair had started dating and moved in together just two weeks before their deaths.
The friend of the girl said the couple were in a group that used to dress “punkish” in black, watch horror films and listen to death metal bands, including Marilyn Manson, Slipknot and Korn.
She said the girl had been a follower of Wicca (magic based on witchcraft practices), and wore a pentacle pendant around her neck – the same symbol that was carved into her back at the time of her suicide.
The group also dabbled in self-mutilation, the 17-year-old said.
“I know she used to cut sometimes,” she told the inquest.
“She said it used to relieve emotional pain.”
Talk of self-harm sometimes turned to suicide, but the girl said she never took her friend’s comments seriously.
“It was just talk, that’s what I thought,” she told the inquest.
She said the girl’s attempts at self-harm started early in 2004, escalating to an attempt to overdose on her father’s prescription medication about four months before she died.
The school’s welfare coordinator told the inquest concerns were raised about the girl’s attendance in September.
She was an “exceptional” student, he said.
She was reported missing to police on September 24, the last day of school term.
The friend said the teen contacted another girl in the last week of holidays to say she was staying with the 23-year-old man.
She agreed to meet up with her friends at a shopping centre near his home in the first week of the next term.
The friends were accompanied by their Year 10 head teacher, who drove them and delivered a letter to the girl from her father.
“She was happy that she didn’t have to go home,” the friend said.
“When it said there (in the letter) ‘You can have nothing to do with the family again’ … she was happy.”
The welfare coordinator denied the head teacher was “over-involved” in the matter, saying he knew the girl best of the all the teachers and was “uniquely” placed to assess her welfare.
The teacher had been frustrated by the school’s response to the girl’s disappearance, with the principal “less than impressed” by his decision to meet with the girl, the coordinator said.
Information that the girl was still in the region allegedly never made it to the Department of Community Services (DOCS), following a series of unreturned phone calls, miscommunication and police bungles.
The inquest continues tomorrow before Deputy State Coroner Dorelle Pinch.