13-year-old girl reported she was raped a month before she school plunged to her death inquest hears
A vulnerable 13-year-old girl bullied at school plunged to her death just weeks after telling a teacher that she had been raped, an inquest heard.
Chevonea Kendall-Bryan fell more than 60ft to her death on March 29, 2011, from the window of her family’s fourth floor flat in Seldon House, Savona Street, Battersea.
Tributes from friends on Facebook immediately after her death implied the teenager had been the subject of cruel bullying at St Cecilia’s School, in Sutherland Grove, Southfields.
While giving evidence her mother Amanda Kendall confirmed her daughter, who had self-harmed as a result of being “mercilessly” bullied.
It emerged during the inquest, at North Westminster Coroners’ Court today, Chevonea told teachers she had been raped by a boy after a party in Battersea just a month before her death.
The teenager had spoken to a drama therapist at the school about the alleged rape on March 2, 2011, and the information had been passed on to St Cecilia’s head teacher Niall Gallagher.
But 48 hours after informing the school, the incident had still not been reported to police, the inquest heard.
Instead a meeting had been arranged, according to Mr Gallagher, with Chevonea, her mother, the drama therapist and a male designated child protection teacher, to discuss the matter.
Coroner Bernard Richmond QC questioned the head teacher whether the school’s entire approach to the allegation was appropriate and why the designated child protection teacher was present when such a sensitive subject matter was to be discussed.
He also queried whether a delay of 48 hours relating to an allegation of rape of a student was “acceptable”.
The head master belatedly admitted that neither the presence of a man at the meeting nor the delay were acceptable.
Miss Kendall told the inquest her daughter had been upset by the bullying, which had started a year earlier.
It began, she said, with verbal abuse but this quickly escalated to blatant physical abuse.
Miss Kendall said: “Chevonea was very bubbly and always laughing and joking. She was a nice little girl.
“She was very helpful, she was just Chevonea really.
“It started with name calling but got physical - tripping her up, pushing, slapping.
“After it started she wasn’t the same bubbly person she was when she started at school. “Matters got worse; she started self-harming and cutting herself on her arm.
“She said that was her way of taking away the pain of being bullied.” After Chevonea moved into year nine she reluctantly went to the party where she alleged she was raped the court heard.
The following day, another boy forced her to perform oral sex on him after he threatened to smash all the windows in her flat, it was said.
Miss Kendall said: “She felt like she had to do it. He forced her to do it because she didn’t know what would happen if she didn’t do it.
The alleged sexual activity became known at Chevonea’s school and the bullying continued until a third boy repeatedly called her mobile phone demanding she perform oral sex on him, but she ignored his calls.
Miss Kendall added: “The other boy kept calling and calling her but she didn’t meet him.
“Someone told people at the school and the teasing started again after that.
“She said it was really bad, every day. Hand gestures, calling her names.
“She said what’s the point of telling the school, nothing is going to be done about it.”
A year earlier, in 2010, after discovering that Chevonea was self-harming due to bullying, the school referred her case to social services, Mr Gallagher said.
They received a reply, he said, stating she should be referred to a mental health agency.
However, according to coroner Mr Richmond QC, Chevonea’s case somehow “slipped through the net” because no further action was taken by either the school or social services to help her despite the recommendation.
The inquest heard how Chevonea suffered cardiac arrest after the fall and died from severe injuries to the brain.
The inquest, which is expected to last five days, continues.