Teen’s devastating death ‘triggered by lockdown’, court hears

·3-min read

A "bubbly" teenager who loved horses took her own life after struggling with successive coronavirus lockdowns, a British court has heard. 

Gabrielle Treharne, 17, struggled with her mental health as the UK endured its third national lockdown at the start of the year, an inquest at the Somerset Coroner's Court was told on Wednesday (local time). 

The girl's parents found her body in her bedroom of the family home in Bridgwater, a town south of Bristol, on March 2, 2021. 

Her parents said she was "bubbly and full of life" but struggled with the social isolation, Somerset Live reported. 

Her parents said the bubbly teen seemed to struggle with social isolation durig the pandemic.
Her parents said the bubbly teen seemed to struggle with social isolation durig the pandemic. Source: Instagram

Her social media is filled with pictures of her riding and playing with horses and other animals, as well as posing and drinking with friends. 

In one of her final Instagram posts she shared a selfie and wrote: "You gave up on me, I needed that."

Alongside the caption was an emoji of a hand waving goodbye.  

Her farm-worker father, Jago, told the inquest: "If it hadn't been for Covid she would probably still be here."

In a prepared statement he told the court that Gabrielle had struggled with the lack of contact and socialising with her mates due to the pandemic restrictions, The Sun reported. 

Her father and mother, Vaida, said they didn't notice any dark signs in their daughter before she took her own life.

"If it hadn't been for Covid she would probably still be here," her father told an inquest. Source: Instagram
"If it hadn't been for Covid she would probably still be here," her father told an inquest. Source: Instagram

On the day of her death, Vaida came home from work for lunch and recounted how she sat on the couch with her daughter before she left and went to her room.

Her father told the court how he later found her in bed that night, the paper reported. 

"I opened her door and saw her lying on the bed. I said hello and she didn't answer, so I said it again and she still didn't answer, which was a bit odd.

"I went over and touched her, and then shook her. Then I screamed for my wife.

"Gabrielle was cold, and I knew instinctively there was nothing I could do."

Public health experts have been warning of the mental health problems associated with heavy lockdowns seen in most of the world during the pandemic in the past 18 months. 

However a study carried out by the British Medical Journal published in March using data from countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Sweden and the US, showed there had been no rise in suicides associated with coronavirus lockdowns. 

"From the earliest days of the pandemic there was concern that suicide would increase. It wasn’t hard to see where the risks might come from: anxiety about infection, isolation, disrupted care, domestic violence, alcohol, recession," the authors wrote.

"Actual figures, though, took months to appear ... They carry a consistent message. Suicide rates have not risen."

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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