Teenage girl found hanged in school toilets suffered 'racist' bullying about being Polish, inquest hears

Telegraph Reporters
Dagmara Przybysz died at Pool Academy in Cornwall on May 17, 2016

A teenage girl found hanged in toilets at her school had suffered "racist" bullying about being Polish, an inquest has heard. 

Dagmara Przybysz, 16, an aspiring photographer who was looking forward to her year 11 prom and shopping for a dress with her mother, died at Pool Academy on May 17, 2016.

Today the inquest into her death heard she had been having trouble with some girls at her school and had previously told her parents and her boyfriend that she had overheard classmates making racist comments.

In a statement, Dagmara's mother, Ewelina, said her daughter, who was a "very beautiful lady", got on better with boys, and most of her friends, including her boyfriend, went to another school.

Dagmara Przybysz was an aspiring photographer 

She said: "Dagmara often talked to me about her problems and she was hurt if someone said something unpleasant to her."

Mrs Przybysz said she understood her daughter had been having a problem with one girl who had "called Dagmara names".

"I don't know exactly what was said," she said. "This incident occurred only a few days before Dagmara passed away ... I don't know whether these incidents were racist in nature; however, I can say that on several occasions she overheard comments such as 'stupid Pole'."

Answering questions from Dale Collins, who represents Pool Academy, Mr and Mrs Przybysz - who are not represented at the hearing - said pupils had made racist comments to Dagmara "a few times" in the last few months.

She added: "We think the biggest problem for Dagmara was not racism, but bullying."

The inquest heard that Dagmara had been having trouble with some girls at her school and had previously told her parents and her boyfriend that she had overheard classmates making racist comments

Lewis Simpson, Dagmara's boyfriend, said they met at primary school and had dated on and off since they were 14.

Lewis said Dagmara told him that other pupils made racist comments to her such as "go back to your own country" and he said: "I think it got to her a little bit."

Cornwall Coroner's Court, sitting in Truro, heard Dagmara was taken to hospital by her uncle, Tomasz Dobek, the day before she died after injuring herself by punching a wall during a PE lesson when she became angry because she said some girls were laughing at her.

Mr Dobek said during the drive to the hospital they saw two girls in Pool Academy uniforms and she had said to him: "Can you run them over?", but that he did not take the comment seriously.

Mr Dobek said Dagmara phoned him the following morning at around 6.20am while he was at a fish factory where he and both of her parents worked nights, crying and saying she had taken some tablets.

Dagmara Przybysz's mother described her as a "very beautiful lady"

Dagmara's father, Jedrzej, said: "She said she had problems at school which I would not understand." He added it did not look like she had taken tablets and they sent her to school.

"My wife and I kept wondering whether we should have kept Dagmara home that day, but there was no physical sign that she had taken any tablets, otherwise we would have taken her to hospital," he added.

The family lived in Redruth and Dagmara, who had a place at Truro College to study photography, and her younger sister went to Pennoweth Primary School where they "very quickly learned English" but were the "first Polish children to attend the school", the inquest heard.

Pastoral support worker at Pool Academy, Susan Kent, said: "To the best of my knowledge, Dagmara never mentioned any problems with racism to me or any other person at school."

Ms Kent described an incident in January 2015 when Dagmara and her sister arrived at school upset.

She said: "[They] told me their mum had been very angry and shouted at them because Dagmara had lost her phone the day before."

She said that on another occasion Dagmara came to school with a bruise on her head.

Other teachers described Dagmara as being friendly, happy, very sporty and a "lovely girl", but said she was worried about her exams and had concerns that she may have dyslexia.

The inquest, expected to last up to three days before Coroner Dr Emma Carlyon, continues.

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