|Lizzie Lowe, 14, who was found hanged at Fletcher Moss Park in Didsbury Photo: MEN|
A teenage girl hanged herself because she feared telling her devoutly Christian parents she might be gay, an inquest has heard.
Elizabeth Lowe, 14, known as Lizzie, had confided in friends that she thought she might be a lesbian, but was struggling to reconcile her feelings with her own deep faith.
She was also worried about telling her parents, but her father said her fears were misplaced and she would have received a “wealth of love and acceptance”.
The schoolgirl from Didsbury in Manchester sparked concern when she sent a text to a friend on the evening of September 10, which ended with the words, “….stay strong. I am sorry”.
The friend told her mother who alerted the police, but tragically Lizzie was found hanged in a local park.
A post mortem concluded she died from the effects of hanging and that she had no drugs or alcohol in her body at the time of her death.
She also had no diagnosable mental health problems.
Speaking about Lizzie's concerns over telling her parents about her sexuality, one of her friends told an inquest: “She said she wasn't sure if they would be OK with it. I told her that I didn't think it would be like that but she did not want to tell them.
Some of other friends also told the hearing that they had discussed suicidal thoughts with Lizzie and she had also self-harmed in the past.
One told the hearing that Lizzie had told her that cutting herself was a "coping mechanism".
Another said she was "finding it hard to connect with God as she thought she was lying to him".
Det Insp David Turner, who oversaw the investigation, said: “Despite the fact that suicide was clearly an issue with these children, I found no evidence of what is sometimes called a 'suicide pact'."
Lizzie was a top academic performer at Parrs Wood High School and a member of the Scout movement and a musician in a Christian orchestra.
Senior Coroner Nigel Meadows said the school couldn't have done any more to pick up on her distress.
Recording a verdict of suicide, Senior Coroner, Nigel Meadows, said: “She was clearly an intelligent young woman.
“She was a successful student but was going through issues of developing maturity and exploring her sexuality and was struggling to come to terms with that against her faith beliefs.
“It is clear she was struggling and she was talking to others about it.
“She never had the opportunity to share her concerns with her parents. But I have absolutely no doubt they would have been supportive in their reaction."
Mr Meadows also issued a plea to all youngsters to talk to an adult if they had any issues or concerns.
During the inquest Lizzie's tearful father Kevin, an engineer, said he and her mother Hilary had no idea about the issues their 14-year-old daughter was grappling with.
He said: “She was just normal and seemed happy. There was nothing to suggest she was distressed or had any issues. She was very mature, she knew what she wanted and she knew her own mind.”
Asked how the family would have reacted if she had spoken to them about her sexuality, Mr Lowe said: “It wouldn't have come as much surprise. She was very much a tomboy. In fact she was more of a boy than some of the boys were, so it would have been no surprise at all. We would have been very supportive."
Speaking after the hearing, Kevin and Hilary, a chartered accountant, said in a statement: “Lizzie was a wonderful exuberant and loved member of her church, school and community.
“She was a gifted student, sports woman and musician who was outgoing, fun loving and enjoyed the love and respect of many friends. We are utterly devastated at losing her.
“Lizzie did not make known her struggle with depression and the challenges she tried to face alone as a young adult. We wish she had confided because she would have found a wealth of love and acceptance and support. The loss of our precious daughter has left us broken-hearted.”