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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Family's 'texting' plea after tragedy of Cumbrian teenager

The family of a young woman found hanged after an argument with her boyfriend have issued a warning about the ‘immediacy’ of technology and social media.

Helen Jenkins photo
Helen Jenkins

Helen Jenkins, 19, died in October last year after her partner, Jonathan Terry, found out about an incident involving Miss Jenkins and a friend of his.

They argued via text message and on the phone, an inquest heard.

It is thought Mr Terry ended the relationship, although he told the inquest that he believed they would have ‘sorted things out’.

However, Miss Jenkins – a former Nelson Thomlinson School pupil in Wigton – was later found hanged in the bathroom of a caravan in Askham, near Penrith.

Now her family has issued a statement urging others to use phone and internet technology responsibly.

They said: “The use of phone and internet technology allows anyone and everyone to communicate instantaneously, sending messages or expressing thoughts which, but for that immediacy, might well be changed or withdrawn or viewed as inappropriate in the cold light of day.

“We all share this responsibility and Helen’s tragic death only serves to remind us to re-double out efforts to safeguard our children and to act considerately towards others in times of pain and stress.”

The inquest heard that Miss Jenkins, a Northumbria University student, had been about to set off on a gap year with Mr Terry, and had secured employment for the ski season at Val d’Isere, in France. But following the row, on October 11, the pair exchanged several text messages.

Miss Jenkins sent a final message at around 9.40pm. Four messages later sent by Mr Terry went unread.

It is thought she hanged herself in the caravan after sending the final message, although she was not found until later on.

Giving a narrative verdict at the inquest held in Kendal, the coroner Ian Smith said: “On October 11 last year, as far as Helen was concerned, everything was over and everything was total despair, life wasn’t worth living. She could see no future for herself and she took an action that, objectively, is totally over the top, and that was to take her own life, which she did.”

Her parents, Sally and Huw, who live near Wigton, added: “As the coroner’s verdict shows, even someone as well-adjusted and well-loved as Helen can take their own life at a sudden and unforeseeable time of crisis in their life.”

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