A teen girl obsessed with a “suicide cult” rock band hanged herself two weeks after becoming an “emo“, an inquest heard today.
Talented karate artist and “model pupil” Hannah Bond, 13, an fan of controversial band My Chemical Romance, was found hanging from beneath her bunk bed with a tie in the early hours of September 23 at her family home in East Peckham.
She had several self-inflicted cuts in a parallel fashion on her left wrist, which she told her dad was “an initiation into emo”, the inquest at Maidstone Coroners’ Court was told.
The petite year nine pupil had in the months prior become obsessed with the teen trend – a popular fashion and lifestyle fad followed by kids who emulate the older ‘gothic’ crowd.
On her Bebo page Miss Bond, who used the online name Living Disaster and has internet friends with names like Sam Suicide, said she was obsessed with the hugely popular My Chemical Romance band, whose hit number one with their last album The Black Parade.
Her mother, Heather Bond, told the court how she learned The Black Parade is “where you go when you die” as she researched the emo fad.
She said: “The whole concept is aimed at people Hannah’s age.
“In emo it is a very glamorous death to hang yourself.
“There are websites that show pink teddies hanging themselves.
“The band she was into, the music she was into – he whole thing is based on The Black Parade which is all about dying.
Heartbroken: Ray and Heather Bond told the court their daughter had told them emo was ‘just a fashion’
“She called emo a fashion and I thought it was normal.
“I didn’t know about the cuts. She used to wear emo bracelets so her wrists were concealed.
“Hannah was just a normal girl.
“She had loads of friends.
“She could be a bit moody but I though it was just because she was a teenager.
“In the months before she had become obsessed with the internet.
“But there were no signs this was going to happen.
“She had everything to live for.”
In a tribute book left at a shrine at her school following Miss Bond’s death a pal wrote: “I hope you enjoy The Black Parade.”
Her father, Ray Bond, a sensei at the Kyokushin Karate Club in Gravesend, where Hannah was a member, wept as he said: “Two weeks before I saw the cuts I asked her about them and we discussed how it was an emo initiation.
“She promised me she would never do it again.
“She was in in touch with emos all over the world, particularly from America, over the internet.
“The night before she hanged herself she came into the room and gave me a big kiss and said ‘I love you, Dad’.”
In the hours before her death Miss Bond had been hanging out with her boyfriend and others at a pal’s home.
She had not phoned her parents for a lift home when she was supposed to, playing up after she was told she would not be able to sleep over.
Her mum and older sister Jessica picked her up more than an hour and a half later to find that Hannah was “hyper active”.
Heather said: “She was hyperventilating. She used to drink the energy drink Kick, I don’t know if it had to do with that. She said she wanted a cuddle, so I reached back to her.”
As Hannah entered her family home she said she wanted to go straight upstairs. Heather told how she said: “I want to kill myself.”
That was the last time she was seen alive.
Nicola Appleton, the mother of one of the boys at whose home Miss Bond was spending time earlier that night, told the court how in the weeks prior she too had discovered cuts on her son’s arm.
She said: “He said they all did it.
“I told him it had to stop. “He just said emos all do it.
“He said he didn’t really want to hurt himself and the cuts weren’t very deep.
“He had done it at school with a compass.”
Vanessa Everett, the headteacher at the Mascalls School were Miss Bond was regarded as an outstanding pupil, admitted there had been serious concerns over the spread of the emo lifestyle among students.
She said: “Hannah was known to me as a model student.
“Everybody said she was a lovely, bubbly student who worked hard.
“Right up to the weeks before she died Hannah was getting honours for her work in her lessons.
“But we are very aware of this fashion trend which started with some of the older students.
“Part of the problem it posts for us is it involves superficial self harm.
“It can be difficult for us to differentiate between those students who were doing it because of serious psychological or emotional issues and those who are doing it for a fashion statement.
“We wouldn’t have classified Hannah as one of those students with serious psychological or emotional problems.”
Recording a verdict of suicide, coroner Roger Sykes said: “She was a family friendly girl who was doing well as school.
A girl aged 13 years has years has taken her own life for no reason that could be regarded by anyone as sensible or justified and if in doing so she was thinking about how this would go down with those others who were involved with the emo fad I just believe this a terrible tragic explanation for what happened.
“It was not glamorous. It was a tragic loss of life.”
Visitors to the Miss Bond’s Bebo profile page are greeted with the words “Hi I’m Hannah and I’m addicted to My Chemical Romance especially Gerard Way”.
She even lists her hometown as “The Black Parade!!!”, and her playlist shows she has been repeatedly listening to 14 of the group’s hits.
She also asks friends to take part in an online vote on which member of My Chemical Romance is the sexiest.
The page is decorated with pictures of an emo girl with blood-spattered wrists after slashing herself in an apparent suicide bid.
Another picture shows a child’s exercise book scrawled with the words “Dear Diary, today I gave up…”.
She also glorifies in the slogan: “Brave is knowing that tomorrow isn’t a bright and happy future.”
Dozens of Miss Bond’s heartbroken friends have left tributes on her Bebo page.
One friend explicitly referred to the lyrics of Miss Bond’s favourite song when she wrote: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll never forget you, I’ll hold on to these memories till we meet again in the black parade.”
Another friend, Bonnie Price, wrote: “I miss you so much, when I found out I was devastated. I love you so much.”
Another added: “Black tears of death bring red tears of love and memories.”
My Chemical Romance have repeatedly come under fire for ‘glamorising’ suicide.
The band hit the mainsteam in October 2006 when their single Welcome To The Black Parade topped the charts.
Earlier hundreds of young devotees had queued all night outside London’s Oxford Street Virgin Megastore for a chance to see the band’s intimate in-store performance.
In the hit single the band’s frontman Gerard Way sings: “And though you’re dead and gone believe me your memory will carry on, will carry on.
“And in my heart I can’t contain it, the anthem won’t explain it.”
“Your misery and hate will kill us all. So paint it black and take it black.
“Do or die, you’ll never make me, because the world will never take my heart. Though they try, they’ll never break me. We want it all, we wanna play this part.”