Natasha MacBryde: Rail death teen threatened online
- 21 July 2011
- From the section Hereford & Worcester
A girl who died on a railway line hours after receiving a threatening message on a social networking site committed suicide, an inquest has found.
Natasha MacBryde, 15, who was discovered on 14 February, received the anonymous message the day before, Worcestershire Coroner's Court heard.
The grammar school pupil, who had suffered multiple injuries, was found dead by a train driver 150 yards from her home in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire.
The jury's verdict was unanimous.
Giving evidence to the jury, Det Sgt Shanie Erwin said Natasha was known to have received a short anonymous message containing personal abuse via the Formspring networking site on 13 February.
'Vile and disgusting'
The message, which was read to the jury, derided Natasha for "hiding" behind make-up and ended: "Start acting nicer to people or you will lose everyone. Mark my words."
Det Sgt Erwin said Natasha, who the court heard was part of a close-knit group of 10 friends at Worcester's Royal Grammar School, then sent back a message on Formspring, asking: "Who are you?"
It also emerged during the hearing that Natasha, whose parents had separated, came home from school in tears about two weeks before her death, saying she did not have any friends.
Det Sgt Erwin told the hearing that officers had spoken to some of Natasha's close friends in the days following her death and had found that she also had a "disagreement" on Facebook on the evening of 13 February.
She also told the inquest that, in the wake of the Natasha's death, she had also fallen victim to an internet "troll", who did not know Natasha but posted "vile and disgusting" messages about the incident.
The "troll" was subsequently traced and prosecuted, she said.
Natasha's parents Andrew and Jayne MacBryde released a statement saying they believed the anonymous messages played a significant role.
They the inquest had been an "agonising process" for them but it had helped them to see what Natasha had been keeping to herself.
They said: "We believe that the evocative lyrics of one of her favourite songs, Grenade by Bruno Mars, couple with access to certain websites suggesting such actions, caused her to make such a sudden drastic and uncharacteristic decision.
"The family believes that the anonymous postings on the Formspring social networking website were a significant contributor to the events on Sunday, 13 February and we seek to understand the motivation of those who choose to send spiteful and vindictive messages to the their peers.
"We can only hope that lessons have been learned."