A 14-year-old schoolgirl who took her own life sent a voice message the night beforehand saying she was “preparing” to be bullied.
Mia Janin, a Year 10 pupil at the Jewish Free School (JFS) in Kenton, north-west London, was found dead at her family home in Barnet on March 12 2021.
Tony Murphy, area coroner for North London, concluded on Friday that Mia “took her life while still a child and while still in the process of maturing into adulthood”.
Before the inquest concluded, Mia’s family released a WhatsApp voice note to the BBC in which she expressed her torment.
In the recorded message, which she sent to a friend, she said: “Tomorrow’s going to be a rough day, I’m taking deep breaths in and out. I’m currently mentally preparing myself to get bullied tomorrow.”
Her death was the third suicide in four years at JFS, the biggest Jewish school in Europe.
Mia’s body was found by her parents at about 6.50am. Two undated letters in her handwriting were found on her bed addressed to “her loving family and friends”, which “explained that Mia decided to end her life”.
Mr Murphy said Mia was last seen alive at about 10pm on March 11 2021, when she said goodnight to her parents. Earlier that day she had asked if she could move school.
Mr Murphy said Mia had “close friends including at her secondary school, but she also experienced bullying from some male students”.
Neither Mia’s family or teachers were aware of the problem before her death, he told Barnet coroner’s court
Mr Murphy, who will now consider whether to publish a prevention of future deaths report, said: “Mia’s secondary school has introduced systemic changes following her death. Mia is much missed by her loving family, caring friends and the wider community.”
Mia’s father, Mariano Janin, paid tribute to his daughter, saying “she was fantastic, she was very bubbly, good sense of humour, she was beautiful, she was very kind, very creative”.
In a statement after the inquest Mr Janin, whose wife Marisa contracted leukaemia four months after Mia’s death and died after an aneurysm, said: “Nothing will bring back my wife and my daughter Mia.
”[…] My daughter experienced prolonged and sustained bullying in various ways in person and online. In a way it’s a relief this has now been recognised, however, there does need to be accountability. Another family cannot live what I have lived.”
He added: “I think we need to put some limits on the access of the kids on the internet and how we can recollect the data if something like this has happened. We need to create a safe environment for our kids.
“It’s very simple. Unfortunately, I’m a victim of this failing system.”
Statements given to the police by friends of Mia were read out to the inquest, in which they said she was bullied by other pupils at the school, and that their friendship group was nicknamed the “suicide squad” in the months leading up to her death.
They said one of Mia’s TikTok posts was shared on a Snapchat group chat run by male pupils at JFS, where they made fun of her. One child said the boys used the group chat to share nude photos of girls.
Mr Murphy previously said that there was no evidence that any images or videos involving Mia had been shared in the group chat, except for the TikTok post.
Rabbi Howard Cohen, former deputy headteacher at JFS, told the inquest that he held a meeting with members of one of the online “boys-only bravado groups”, who agreed to disband it.
David Moody, the current head teacher at JFS, said: “We will continue to do everything we can to embed all of the changes that have been put in place over the last three years.
“Mia remains a hugely missed member of our school community and our thoughts continue to be with the family.”
For mental health support, contact the Samaritans on 116 123, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit samaritans.org.
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