Schoolgirl, 14, took her life after being bullied, father tells hearing
A 14-year-old girl who took her own life was bullied by pupils in and outside her school, her father told an inquest.
A pre-inquest review hearing into the death of Mia Janin in March 2021 heard her parents had raised concerns over bullying with staff at the Jewish Free School (JFS) in Kenton, north-west London.
The year 10 pupil was found dead at her family home in nearby Harrow on March 12 2021.
Assistant coroner Tony Murphy, sitting at Barnet Coroner’s Court on Thursday, said she and her family believed her treatment by other pupils amounted to “bullying”.
“The key focus as I see it for this inquest is to seek to understand as much as anyone can why Mia took the steps she did on 12 March,” he said.
“That involves in my view what was going on within and without Mia’s school environment in the weeks leading up to the event.
“It seems clear that Mia’s experience of some behaviour by JFS students was bullying.”
Mariano Janin, Mia’s father, told the hearing: “We know that she was bullied. We knew that she was cyber bullied.
“Mia is not the first case in JFS.”
The hearing was told evidence given to the Metropolitan Police after her death by pupils at the school – who cannot be named for legal reasons – had “inconsistencies” and that some of them disputed that Mia was bullied.
Lily Lewis, counsel for Mia’s brother Douglas Stewart, said there was “clear evidential value” in calling the child witnesses to give evidence to the inquest to clarify this.
She added that one student believed the bullying of Mia to be so severe that it was impossible their teachers could have missed it.
Susan Jones, representing JFS, said the school “accepted that it was Mia’s experience that she was being bullied”.
But she argued that child witnesses should not be called to give live evidence to the inquest for safeguarding reasons and that their police evidence should be read aloud instead.
Sefton Kwasnik, solicitor for Mr Janin, said: “The last thing my client wants to do is exacerbate any issues that any of the child witnesses might have.
“I think there would be a common desire to minimise or mitigate that prospect to the minimum.”
The coroner said the matter would be decided at a later date before the inquest commenced.
He ruled the inquest will seek to determine Mia’s wellbeing, her interactions with students and staff at JFS, support she received relating to that and what happened in the two days before Mia’s death.
It will also consider lessons that are to be learned from her death.
Key moments leading up to her death were said to include a queue for Covid tests and a design and technology lesson which was the last Mia attended.
The inquest will consider evidence from her mobile phone, social media accounts, GP and counselling records.
Her brother and father will provide pen portraits and a photograph to illustrate what she was like.
Mia’s mother died four months on from her suicide after having an aneurysm and contracting leukaemia.
The coroner set a provisional date for the inquest of Friday 23 and Monday 26 June.
Present in court were Mr Janin and Met officers Detective Inspector Steele and Detective Sergeant Wallace, who were involved in the police investigation into Mia’s death.
Mr Kwasnik, Miss Lewis, Ms Jones and Mr Stewart appeared via video link, as did Mr Stewart’s solicitor Abigail Gowland, JFS headteacher Dr David Moody and Naomi Pendleton, a grief charity worker supporting Mr Janin.