Inquest Hears How Teenager Died At New Forest Monument

2 December 2014, 18:27

A 15-year-old girl from Dorset jumped to her death from a 100ft high monument in Hampshire after having an argument with her boyfriend, an inquest has heard.

Ashli Blake, who was born with the surname Cook, from Alderholt, Dorset, was found dead at the Eyre Coote Monument near Rockbourne in the New Forest, Hampshire, in the early hours of September 21.

A post-mortem examination found that she died of multiple injuries, the inquest at Winchester was told.

Her boyfriend, Marcus Webb, who was five years older than Ashli, said that on the previous day they had an argument, with Ashli accusing him of trying to get close to one of her friends.

He said she had left his house saying that she was going to kill herself but he had not believed her because she had made similar comments previously.

He said she sent him a text message saying: ``I am going to jump off Coote tower, if we can't be together I do not want to be with anyone. Bye.''

Mr Webb said in a statement read to the inquest: ``I feel so guilty and I feel like it was my fault, she told me she was going to kill herself and even told me where she was going to do it and I laughed at her because I didn't believe her.

``Ashli meant more than life itself to me, I would do nothing to hurt her, I now feel there's no reason being here.''

Mr Webb said he had visited the tower several times with Ashli and it was where they had taken their photograph together when they started going out three years earlier.

Her mother, Canasta Blake, said in a statement: ``I do not understand why she did this, she had everything to live for and often spoke of the future.

``I think, for her age, she was immature, in her laughing, giggling and making up silly words. Ashli was a lovely young girl, was imaginative, different and quirky, she had her own special dress sense.

``She would have grown up to be a lovely person.''

She said Ashli had suffered from some bullying problems with other girls at her school, The Burgate School in Fordingbridge, but she had not expressed any wish not to attend school because of this and was working hard at her studies.

Ms Blake added that Ashli had told family members she wanted to become an art therapist or an accountant.

Ashli's GP, Dr Charlotte Hillsley, at Fordingbridge Surgery, said she had suffered from low moods and sleeping problems.

She had previously been referred to the Hampshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs) but had been discharged. But in July 2014 she had returned to the surgery and was referred again to Camhs and was placed on its waiting list.

In a statement read to the inquest, Dr Hillsley said: ``Ashli had low mood and poor sleep and was struggling with bullying at school.

``Her mother had told me she had removed razor blades from the house and taken them to work with her because she was concerned that she may self-harm.''

Central Hampshire Coroner Grahame Short recorded a verdict that Ashli took her own life.

He said: ``Ashli was a deeply troubled girl but I find that she chose to end her life on this occasion.''

He added: ``It's clear that she had a boyfriend, Marcus Webb, and I find that she was very much in love with him to a degree that only a teenager can be.''

The Eyre Coote monument was erected in 1828 to commemorate Lieutenant General Sir Eyre Coote (1726-1783), who is best known for his role as a senior officer in the British Army in India.