A 13-year-old schoolgirl who became ‘addicted to her iPhone’ suffered self image and friendship issues before killing herself, an inquest heard.
Tragic Ellie Phillips researched suicide methods online and wrote about her own funeral.
The inquest was told that the star hockey player had issues with her school and friendship groups in her year.
Her mother Michelle told the coroner that Ellie "was a private person who was quite negative".
She said her younger daughter was "thoughtful, considerate and kept her cards close to her chest".
But she said they were quite similar because the teenager was "quite argumentative and always wanted the last word".
Michelle said she was ‘addicted to her iPhone’ and she threatened to confiscate it and her iPad because of her daughter’s attitude.
She said during the last summer holidays she spent a lot of time on her own and was blanked by three school friends when she saw them on a shopping trip.
The senior Devon coroner Philip Spinney heard that Ellie was not happy at the independent Shebbear College school in Devon and wanted to leave to go to another school.
Her stepfather Stuart Ley said: "She was a glass half empty person, not naughty but argumentative."
He said she would not confide in him and was guarded because he "wasn’t her real dad’ who had moved away to Truro, Cornwall, when her parents’ marriage ended.
He said Ellie did not have many friends and was ‘socially isolated’ after being left out which left her feeling moody.
The day before her death she had captained her school hockey team to their best result in a tournament and Ellie was player of the tournament.
She also represented Cornwall at hockey.
On the day she died she "talked about people who she did not like" before going to a pond area to do her homework at their dairy farm at Sutcombe, North Devon.
She did not try and conceal herself as she played loud music before she hanged herself.
Her mum found her and tried to revive her but she died in North Devon hospital.
A post-mortem concluded she died from hanging.
The inquest at Exeter’s County Hall heard she had ‘some social concerns about not fitting in’ but the Year 9 student’s behaviour was normal and her GP said she had no mental health issues.
Det Con Emma Baker said she found two notes on Ellie’s iPhone which were dated May and September 2017 where she was ‘considering the end’.
The inquest heard the iPhone notes revealed ‘a reference to her funeral, depression, self harm, stress, anxiety and self image concerns’.
The detective said there were internet searches about methods of suicide.
Her English teacher Frances Lovett counselled Ellie regularly and said she was ‘a bright and bubbly character’ who had petty squabbles and falling outs with other girls but "nothing out of the ordinary and nothing I would call bullying".
She said Ellie wanted to get fitter for playing netball and hockey and Mrs Lovett said of the students: "They all knew each other’s
insecurities – weight and spots were all involved. She saw me more regularly about friendship issues."
She said she was ‘unhappy, withdrawn and upset’ because her dad Robert had moved to Truro after the marriage ended and she did not see him as often but said she was still doing well academically.
Coroner Mr Spinney said during 2016 ‘there were some social issues regarding her school’ and friendship groups.
He said Ellie was ‘private, cautious, considerate and anxious’ and referred to the notes on her iPhone about depression, self harming and taking her own life.
He told her divorced parents and family: "Tragically she took her own life."
He recorded a narrative conclusion said: "Ellie died as a result of her own actions. This really is a tragic event. It is very grave to
bear to lose a daughter in these circumstances."
If you are struggling, don’t suffer in silence – you can contact the Samaritans for free, non-judgemental conversation at any time of the day or night on 116 123.
Alternatively, email [email protected] or visit their website to find your nearest local branch.
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