Girl, 12, kills herself after bullies say family would be ‘happy if you’re dead’

A 12-year-old girl took her own life after bullies continued to taunt her during lockdown, her devastated family have said.

"Cheeky" Charley Patterson had an "infectious smile" and was always kind to those who needed her, her loved ones have said.

The schoolgirl, from Cramlington, Northumberland, was found dead on October 1, having previously self-harmed in November last year and was taken to hospital in March after she continued.

She had repeatedly sought help from professionals, after her mental health suffered when her school life was blighted by bullying.

But she was told she could spend as much as three years on waiting lists, receiving little follow up from the service that was meant to care for her, reports ChronicleLive.

Her family, mum Jay, dad Paul and siblings Jake, 11, Callum, 15, Kylah, 16, and Sophie, 18, are all still struggling to come to terms with her death, while they battle for fundamental changes to children's mental health provision in her memory.

Jay, 35, took her phone from her to shield her from abusive messages but she got access to the internet again after coronavirus restrictions meant she had to use a laptop for schoolwork.

She told MailOnline: "She didn’t fit into any friendship group, though she did have some friends in other classes. She was called a lesbo emo freak.

"She first tried to take her own life in November last year. When people at school found out they said things to her like, 'You are so useless you can’t even kill yourself properly'.

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"They also said, 'The only way your family will be happy is if you are dead'."

Due to coronavirus restrictions, only 15 people were allowed to say their final goodbyes in person at Whitley Bay Crematorium on Friday.

But friends, family and other loved ones were able to watch the funeral service online, paying their respects to the youngster whose death has rocked a community.

Horses, wearing headdresses in her favourite teal colour, drew animal-loving Charley to the funeral service in an ornate carriage, while her coffin was decorated with horses running free.

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Mourners reflected on her life as they listened to Thursday by Jess Glynne, which her mum always felt had been written just for Charley.

Jay added: "She was like my shadow. During the day in the week it is easier because it's as though she is at school. It is on a night or on a weekend and she's not there. When you're making dinner and there's one less meal to make. It is so hard."

Charley was "a ball of energy and fun", celebrant Janet Green said, she was "cheeky" and had her loving dad "wrapped around her little finger".

Jay shared fond memories of the "fearless" youngster, remembering her jumping into lakes, dodging PE lessons with her friends, and moments of "stubbornness" at school, when she refused to speak to a teacher who called her by her full name, Charley-Ann.

Jay said: "Her smile always reached her eyes, she always had a cheeky smile and a wisecrack upon her lips.

"We are all going to miss her sass, her cheek, her smile, her sense of fun, and as hard as it is to hear and to say, she's no longer hurting and no longer afraid.

"The love that we have for her will stay forever in our hearts. She has always been my miracle baby girl and always will be.

"She will always be with us."

For confidential support from volunteers, including for suicidal thoughts, Samaritans can be contacted free on 116 123 or by email to [email protected]

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