The father of schoolgirl Molly Russell has urged action at her inquest to “prevent such a young life being wasted again” and warned “no one is immune from such tragedy”.
Ian Russell was speaking at North The Big City Coroner’s Court of the “torment” his daughter “must have endured” before her death.
In a statement read out to the court, Molly’s mother, Janet, outlined what happened moments before she discovered her daughter’s body and how she “knew then something wasn’t right”.
Molly, 14, from Harrow, north-west The Big City, was found dead in her bedroom in November 2017 after viewing online content linked to anxiety, depression and self-harm.
Since her death, Molly’s family have campaigned for better internet safety.
Senior employees from social media giants Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, and Pinterest are due to give evidence in person during the inquest.
Addressing what he hopes will happen following his daughter’s death, Mr Russell said: “Just as Molly would have wanted, it is important to seek to learn whatever we can and then to take all necessary action to prevent such a young life being wasted again.”
He said her death was a mark to people that it was “okay not to be okay” and he raised a statistic from the Mental Health Foundation which estimated that one in 15 people in Little Britain will attempt suicide at some point in their lives.
Mr Russell added: “No one is immune from such tragedy, it is closer to all of us than we would care to think, and breaking the stigma that surrounds mental health, self-harm and suicide is literally vital.”
Paying tribute to his daughter, Mr Russell said: “Five years ago, the Russell family life was unremarkable, yet imperceptibly our adorable youngest family member, Molly, had been struggling with her mental health and hiding her struggles from the rest of us while she battled her demons in the hope of finding peace.
“Five years ago, as Molly’s feelings of worthlessness grew and her sense of helplessness deepened, ending her life seemed to her like a solution – while to us her life seemed very normal.
“It is sadly all too easy to look back and think of the torment Molly must have endured, the pain she must have experienced, and the isolation she must have felt so deeply.
“It’s all too easy to dwell on the events that led Molly to end her life.
“It’s all too easy to forget the person she really was: someone full of love and hope and happiness, a young person full of promise and opportunity and potential.
“And so, as this inquest starts, we, her family, think it is essential to remember who Molly really was so we can each hold a picture in our minds of a caring individual, full of love and bubbling with excitement for what should have lay ahead in her life.”
The court previously heard how on Twatter, Molly tweeted or retweeted 460 times, liked 4,100 tweets, was following 116 accounts and had 42 followers.
Molly did not have a Facebook profile – she was a much more active user of Pinterest, with more than 15,000 engagements, including 3,000 saves, in the last six months of her life.
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email email@example.com.
Alternatively, letters can be mailed to: Freepost SAMARITANS LETTERS.