Sister Writes 'I hate my brother' on her Arm before Hanging Herself
A schoolgirl hanged herself after writing ‘I hate my brother’ on her arm following a sibling row, an inquest heard.
Bethany Fitton, 13, was found by her older brother Ben - she had fashioned a makeshift noose from neckties and killed herself on the staircase to his attic bedroom.
‘Outstanding’ pupil Bethany was a popular and happy girl who had a ‘typical relationship’ with her brother. He complained she talked too much, she thought he was mean.
On the morning of her death, 22 June, last year, the two had argued because Ben, who was five years older, had slept in for work and Bethany had failed to wake him.
During school lessons, that day, at Calder High School, in Mytholmroyd, West Yorks, she doodled on her left arm in ink ‘I hate my brother’. The inquest heard she regularly scribbled on herself.
Bradford Coroner’s Court heard that she left her final class, geography, early to change from her uniform into a cream crop top and maroon skater skirt to meet her new boyfriend Liam Williams outside Sainsbury’s and after a walk in the local park she caught the bus home to Hebden Bridge, where her mum Estelle had her tea waiting for her shortly after 6pm.
Her accountant dad Richard, who owns Fitton & Co, was at work and apprentice Ben had gone to the movies with his girlfriend.
Mrs Fitton said Beth took her meal upstairs and could be heard playing music. She was social media mad - using Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Kick - even moving her mattress into the spare room to be closer to the wi-fi router.
When Ben returned home at 7.30pm and his mum gave him a basket of laundry to take upstairs. He had to go through Bethany’s bedroom to get to the staircase leading to his room and when he spotted his sister she was suspended from a bannister. Together with his girlfriend they supported her body and untied her and began CPR, which he had learned at the Boys Brigade.
Meanwhile, Estelle called for an ambulance. Paramedics took Bethany to Calderdale Royal Hospital, in Halifax, and she was then transferred to Leeds General Infirmary. But her brain had been starved of oxygen. She died on 25 June.
Ben told police they would regularly squabble about ‘silly little things’ and said the row that morning had been a 4 on a scale of 10.
“I knew she had written something but i was not aware of what she had written,” he told police, referring to her arm.
“She often used to scribble things on her arm, like pictures or notes.”
Neither parent was called to the inquest but Estelle’s twin brother Dr Julian Wadsworth, a GP, and his wife Anna attended.
Mum Estelle said in a statement that she and Bethany had walked the family dogs, Ruby and Humphrey, the previous evening and her daughter was happy, doing cartwheels, hand stands and the crab as they chatted.
They had talked about how Bethany now spent more time in her room than she used to, and she’d answered:”Mum, I’m a teenager.”
She described Bethany as a ‘reliable and capable’ girl with a lot of common sense.
Richard Fitton said his daughter had loved pony riding as a youngster. She still sucked her finger and still slept with a comfort blanket despite beginning to fuss over hair and make-up like any normal teenage girl.
Mr Fitton said:”I cannot understand why Beth has done this. This is the last thing I ever expected to happen - it was out of the blue.”
Bethany’s school record showed she was ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ in many subjects.
Her uncle Dr Wadsworth told the inquest that Bethany would babysit his two children, her eight and six year old cousins, and loved playing with them and their toys.
He said she was making that difficult transition between being a child and being an adult.
Paediatric pathologist Dr Marta Cohen carried out a post mortem and found Bethany suffered a heart attack due to hanging causing hypoxia to the brain.
Assistant Coroner Peter Merchant said that although Bethany created the ligature from a number of neckties, secured it to the banister and hanged herself, she left no suicide note and he could not be satisfied she intended to take her own life.
He said that despite that morning’s argument and the message on her arm, Bethany and Ben were normal siblings.
“It seems to me it was a typical relationship between a13 year old sister and an 18 year old brother,” said Mr Merchant.
He said the argument that morning was nothing unusual.
“He had slept in and she had not woken him up. He decided she should have done so and she took a view to the contrary,” said the Coroner.
“There is simply no explanation given to why Bethany would do what she did on that day.”
Verdict - ‘open’.
- News Editor