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Tragic pupil had 'witchcraft' interest

PUBLISHED: 14:07 14 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:00 03 March 2010

A 12-year-old Suffolk schoolgirl with a fascination for witchcraft hanged herself in her bedroom while "experimenting," an inquest has decided.

Tyne McCalla, of Haylings Road, Leiston, was discovered hanging from a scarf by her horrified mother on Sunday, February 2, this year.

A 12-year-old Suffolk schoolgirl with a fascination for witchcraft hanged herself in her bedroom while "experimenting," an inquest has decided.

Tyne McCalla, of Haylings Road, Leiston, was discovered hanging from a scarf by her horrified mother on Sunday, February 2, this year.

Despite frantic efforts to revive her by her mother, brother, neighbours and paramedics Tyne was pronounced dead.

Giving evidence at the inquest, held at Lowestoft Magistrates' Court, Tyne's mother, Debbie Merchant, was in tears as she recalled how she discovered her daughter's body.

Ms Merchant said she had argued with Tyne at about 5.30pm over the cleaning out of family pets and her daughter had gone to her bedroom.

"At about 7pm I called for her to have tea but there was no answer.

"I went in to her bedroom and found her hanging from one of my scarves that she liked to dress up with," she said.

Ms Merchant screamed for help and her son Andrew, together with neighbours, managed to cut Tyne down but she could not be saved.

Tyne was described as a "typical 12-year-old" full of life but a girl who could easily become hurt and upset.

She had helped her mother get over the death of her partner, and Tyne's stepfather, the previous year.

"I was devastated by his death but Tyne helped me cope," said Ms Merchant.

There had been reports of Tyne being bullied at school but Ms Merchant did not believe this   was connected with her daughter's death.

She said that girls were always falling in and out of friendship with each other and that recently Tyne had got back with her old friends.

Tyne had developed an interest in "white witchcraft" and had a book on the subject.

"I believe this was perfectly harmless and was all about candles and crystals," said Ms Merchant.

Jina Hoddy, deputy head of Leiston Middle School, said Tyne was a friendly girl who was easy to like.

Ms Hoddy said that Tyne was also "easily led" by her peers and for some reason had a fascination with ghosts and spirits and had claimed to have seen a ghost in the school toilets.

"She could at times display her emotions to excess and she would become fearful when talking about the haunted room at the school," she said.

A post mortem carried out by pathologist Richard Rowe at Ipswich Hospital confirmed that Tyne's death was caused by hanging.

Lowestoft Coroner George Leguen de Lacroix recorded a verdict of "accidental death."

He said he was convinced that Tyne had become bored and was simply "experimenting" to see what it was like to hang herself when she "tragically took things too far."

"There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that she deliberately took her own life," said the Coroner.

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