Hereford & Worcester

Abused Dana Baker killed herself after 'breakdown with foster carers'

Dana Baker
Image caption Dana Baker's family said the inquest had "finally answered some of the questions we have had about Dana’s last few days and hours"

A teenager who killed herself after she was sexually abused by her karate instructor also had a troubled history in foster care, an inquest has heard.

Dana Baker, 16, from Kidderminster, was found hanged near a roundabout in 2011.

Coroner Geraint Williams said those responsible for her care, including local authorities, knew of the risk, but failed to take appropriate steps.

Worcestershire County Council said the case had prompted "significant changes" in procedures.

Miss Baker's karate teacher Jaspal Riat was jailed for eight years in 2011 after he was convicted of sexual assault and sexual activity with a child.

She killed herself on 3 March of the same year.

Sitting at Worcestershire Coroner's Court, Mr Williams said Miss Baker took her own life "following the breakdown of her relationship with her foster carers, to whom she was profoundly attached".

Her parents had told the inquest earlier that she had asked to go into foster care in 2009 and they assumed it was a short term arrangement.

But when she moved on to her second foster family, they lost contact with her.

The family said if the foster placement had been better managed, her death might have been prevented.

'Tragic death'

Concluding the inquest, the coroner said: "Her death was contributed to by a failure to have in place adequate measures to protect her from a known, present and continuing risk that she would kill herself."

Speaking after the inquest, her family described Miss Baker as a "bright, bubbly, caring girl of whom we were immensely proud".

They said: "We will never know if the outcome could have been different if Dana had got the support she was asking for.

"We sincerely hope that changes will be made as a result of Dana's untimely and tragic death."

A serious case review was carried out following her death and the council said it had acted on all of the recommendations.

The authority said it had spent an extra £3.5m in the last year on children's social care and increased the number of independent monitors looking at its work,

Liz Eyre, cabinet member for children and families, said: "Where we could have done better, we have made changes at the earliest opportunity."

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