Runaway girl dead after 'suicide pact' with chatroom friend
A TEENAGE girl died yesterday after entering into an apparent suicide pact with a friend she had met in an internet chatroom.
Laura Rhodes, 13, and 14-year-old Rebecca Ling were returned home by police last week after running away together.
But early yesterday morning the two girls were rushed to hospital after apparently taking a drugs overdose at Laura’s home in Neath, south Wales.
Laura was later confirmed dead while Rebecca was last night said to be in a "stable" condition.
Rebecca’s family yesterday said they were shocked and had no idea what could have driven the happy and popular girls to run away from home and take a drug overdose.
The two teenagers, who met and became friends over a year ago in the MSN Messenger internet chatroom, had only just been returned to Neath by police after they went missing last Wednesday.
They had returned from a holiday to the Greek island of Crete with Laura’s family.
The teenagers had met a few times and Laura had stayed with Rebecca for a week earlier this year.
Following the holiday, Rebecca had been due to travel home to Birmingham on Wednesday from Laura’s house.
But after Laura was left at the station to wave goodbye to her friend, the girls boarded a train together.
Police launched a nationwide hunt and they were found in Bath on Friday.
Their families expressed great relief and Rebecca had been spending the night at Laura’s home before she was due to return to her own home yesterday.
Laura’s mother discovered the girls collapsed in her daughter’s bedroom with a bottle of pills by their side. The teenagers left a note saying they did not want to be parted again. Rebecca’s mother, Alison Ling, and her natural father, David, were last night keeping a vigil at their daughter’s bedside in hospital. Ling’s partner, Neil Fisher, said Rebecca had woken once but had drifted back to sleep, so no one had heard her version of the terrible events.
Fisher, 32, said: "It’s such a strange story. Nobody knows how they got hold of the tablets or when they took them.
"There was relief last night that the police had found them but this now has broken all our hearts."
He added: "Laura’s mother found them in the bedroom with tablets at the side of them. We are just stunned because we thought Rebecca would be coming home today safe and well. I just don’t know why they would want to do this."
Fisher described Laura as a friendly and outgoing child, and said neither girl had complained of any personal problems.
He said: "Laura had come up and stayed with us and she was no trouble. She never told us about any troubles at home.
"Rebecca was not in any trouble - she was doing great at school - and Laura is a bright girl. She was like a daughter to us.
"I broke down in tears when I found out Laura went but there’s nothing we can do. I just feel sorry for her parents.
"Our heart goes out to her family. We are thinking of them."
A single pink rose lay on the doorstep of Laura’s home yesterday and residents in the quiet street said they were shocked by the news.
Neighbour Raymond Davies said he couldn’t believe what had happened. "Laura always seemed such a joyful and happy girl," he said.
"She used to run down to the pavement to give Sophie, my dog, a fuss when I walked by. This is very distressing."
Police said last night that family liaison officers had been brought in to support the girls’ relatives. The coroner has been informed and a post-mortem examination will be carried out.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east