Court hears the case of an 11-year-old girl who sent mom a text before killing herself
On January 22, Ursula Keogh got off the bus home near a bridge and jumped off an inquest heard. Her body was found a mile downstream.
The little girl had concealed her intentions to commit suicide for months before taking action. On the day, she killed herself; she reached out to her mother via text.
Ursula Keogh, 11, was a bright student from Lightcliffe Academy in Halifax. An inquest to her death was held at Bradford Coroners Court on Thursday.
On the day of her death, Ursula wrote a pre-planned suicide note and gave it to her friend on the school bus on the way home. She got off a bus stop early and walked alone to the bridge.
For more on this story go to our Twitter account @amomama_usa. The sealed envelope was written "Do not open until after 6 pm" which the friend dutifully compiled to.
When the friend opened the note it revealed Ursula had "given up" and "stopped fighting." The little girl found her body at the River Calder after a 75ft fall from the North Bridge.
Before her suicide, her mother Nicola Harlow had discovered that she was self-harming but couldn’t get a face to face consultation with her GP. Two phone consultations resulted in the GP recommending Lightcliffe Academy take responsibility.
Frustrated, Harlow took Ursula to relationship counselors at Relate, who found nothing wrong with the child. In hindsight, Harlow revealed that Ursula had been unusually affectionate on the day she died.
While leaving to go to school she turned around and said "I love you" to her mother before giving her a kiss. At 3.30 p.m. Ursula texted her mother saying: "I love you, so so sorry."
When Harlow called her 14 minutes later the little girl’s phone was answered by a stranger who found it lying on the ground at the top of the bridge. A post-mortem examination concluded that she had died instantly from a head injury.
Harlow said her youngest daughter had struggled with her divorce from her father David Keogh. She became reluctant to spend time with her father and even stopped playing the violin which she started playing when she was three.
On September 21, 2017, Christopher Castledine, 18, sent messages telling his parents that he loved them and that he was "so sorry." Later he jumped off Humber Bridge and his body was only recovered nine days later by coastguard volunteers on Hessle Foreshore.
These stories highlight the fact that parents need to pay attention to their children and help them as much as they can when needed; perhaps such deaths could possibly be avoided.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.
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