A 14-year-old public schoolgirl hanged herself after developing bulimia - following playground taunts from bullies about her weight, an inquest heard today.
Tragic Fiona Geraghty - nicknamed 'yo-yo' because of her bouncy personality - was found by her distraught father outside the back door of her home having dropped from the bedroom window above.
The 'beautiful' blonde teenager had been bullied about her weight by peers at prestigious £15,000-a-year King's College, in Taunton, Somerset, and developed an eating disorder.
Fiona's mother Dr Elspeth Geraghty, a GP, speaking at her inquest yesterday, said she felt let down by the school and psychiatric experts for only seeing Fiona four times, before discharging her.
She also claimed the youngster had written a school essay - referencing her health problems and 'self loathing' - that was not highlighted in the final term before her death.
Dr Geraghty said: 'I am disappointed that the college failed to apply its own learning to its behaviour. There was no real concern or significance placed on the events in that term.
'I feel let down by the mental health services. I believe eating disorders such as this suffered by Fiona are as the result of an underlying psychiatric problem.
'Being seen on four occasions before being discharged seems an wholly inappropriate response.'
West Somerset Coroner's Court was told that emergency services were called to the family's home, in Nailsbourne, near Taunton, Somerset, at around 7am on July 14 last year.
Fiona's father Dr John Geraghty, a hospital consultant histopathologist, told police he had found his daughter near the back door.
Initial investigations showed she had tied a piece of rope to the valve underneath a radiator in her bedroom - before she was discovered hanging outside with the rope around her neck.
A letter was taken from the scene by police officers and pathologist John Oxley later gave the cause of death as hanging.
West Somerset Coroner Michael Rose was told that Fiona, who had older siblings Robert and Alice, had experienced problems integrating with some peers since moving to King's College.
Dr Elspeth Geraghty told the inquest: 'She did have some relationship problems within her peer group.
'I first became aware that Fiona had a serious eating disorder when I was contacted by her house masters in February 2011.
'They said she had been vomiting.'
Loved: Fiona was described by an aunt as a 'beautiful, sunny child who had everything going for her'
Dr Elspeth Geraghty told the inquest Fiona had divulged that the vomiting began 'following taunts from other girls about her size'.
She also revealed that some of her daughter's peers had been battling similar disorders.
The youngster was taken to see Ross Gillanders, a community psychiatric nurse with the Somerset NHS Trust.
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He believed she had an unspecified eating disorder, but claimed her binges were more the result of hunger.
The expert saw Fiona four times, from April 12, 2011, to May 5, 2011, before discharging her from his care.
During that time he noted that the teen's weight had begun to stabilise and she was feeling better after an agreement to move schools.
Help: Fiona saw a community psychiatric nurse on four occasions before she was discharged just two weeks before she committed suicide, the Taunton hearing was told
Mr Gillanders told the inquest: 'I thought she was not seriously unwell. There are cases where you can be blindsided.
'Her problems at school were resolved, her weight was improving and she had plans for the future.'
But after Fiona's death, some two months after she was discharged, her parents discovered a diary in which the full extent of her binging was revealed.
Mr Gillanders conceded that had he seen the diary, he would have concluded that she had bulimia.
Dr Elspeth Geraghty also expressed concerns that an essay written by her daughter at school before she died had not been flagged up to her.
She told the inquest that the essay revealed her daughter was still consumed by the eating disorder and 'self-loathing'.
Bryan Lask, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of London, criticised Somerset Partnership NHS Trust for discharging Fiona before her death - after just four meetings.
The experienced professional was asked to prepare a report on the schoolgirl’s treatment at the hands of Mr Gillanders for the inquest.
School: The inquest heard that the Fiona had been very popular at her previous school but had been targeted by a group of her peers at the £15,000 a year King's College in Taunton
He said: ‘I don’t know how the full clinical picture could have been evident in just four sessions.
‘There was insufficient information about what was happening in her life because of the absence of her parents in any of the sessions.
‘The parents should have been much more involved throughout the process.
‘Any child who induces vomiting is in a very troubled state.
‘There was a clue about how she was feeling in the essay - it was regrettable that was not taken up.’
The court heard that there may have been two ‘trigger’ events, shortly before Fiona’s death.
The first occurred when she overheard her father, Dr John Geraghty, talking about a road traffic death he had been involved in dealing with.
The court heard that the teen posted a message about her father’s revelations on Facebook - prompting his place of work to complain.
Fiona quickly removed the offending comment.
The second incident - the day before Fiona’s death - saw the schoolgirl post a picture of a friend’s passport photo on the social networking site.
But the upload constituted a security breach and her friend had to apply for another passport - delaying her travel plans.
Fiona’s parents confiscated her laptop after the incident.
Prof Lask said: ‘Feeling disappointed of by one’s parents could have a more significant effect than if the child was less vulnerable.’
After the schoolgirl's death, her aunt Fiona Symondson said: 'Fiona was a very beautiful, sunny child who had everything going for her. Everybody has a smile on their face now when they think of her.'
King's College headmaster Richard Biggs also paid tribute to Fiona - describing her as a charming, friendly, lively girl who lit up the school.
He said: 'She was exceptionally talented, bright, good at sport and with a lovely singing voice.
'She was a loyal and warm friend to others. Her passing is an enormous tragedy, one which will leave a big hole in this community.'
West Somerset Coroner Michael Rose is due to give his verdict at the inquest.
The school said it will make a further comment once the outcome of the inquest is known.
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