‘Delete sex video or I’ll jump’
London - A girl of 13 fell to her death from a block of flats as she “begged” a boy on the pavement below to delete a sex video of her on his phone.
Chevonea Kendall-Bryan had threatened to jump if he did not erase the recording of her performing a sex act on him – and climbed on to the window ledge of her fourth-floor home.
She died in Battersea, south-west London, in March 2011 at 8.10pm, in front of the boy – named only as E6 in court – who then fled the scene.
Records showed she sent him a text message at 7.08pm, saying: “How much can I handle? HONESTLY. I beg you, delete that.”
Chevonea spoke to him three times on the phone in the hour before she fell 18.8m to her death.
Months before the tragedy, her mother Amanda Kendall wrote to her daughter’s school to ask if anything was being done to tackle a group of boys who were bullying her daughter. She wrote: “Will it take a tragedy to happen before the school actively stops… bullying?”.
On Wednesday, coroner Bernard Richmond QC, who recorded a narrative verdict at Westminster Coroners’ Court, criticised the girl’s secondary school for failing to deal with complaints of bullying.
Addressing the circumstances of Chevonea’s death, he said: “From her texts, it is clear she believed him (the boy) to have a video which she begged him delete.
“She was highly distressed. I am satisfied that Chevonea felt so desperate and hopeless that, at about 8pm, she decided to do something dramatic to try to force E6 into doing what she wanted.
“Chevonea climbed out on the window ledge and attempted to demonstrate to him she would jump if he did not do as she asked.”
But he added that he did not believe the youngster meant to die, saying “on the balance of probabilities, she lost her balance and fell”. He added: “If she jumped, I do not accept that she formed any settled intention to kill herself.”
The coroner criticised Saint Cecilia’s School and Wandsworth Council’s children’s services team for “a catalogue of failings”.
The pupil had told teachers she had been sexually assaulted twice by different boys in February 2011, a month before her death.
The court was told she claimed 18-year-old Benn Miebaka had forced her to perform a sex act on him following a half-term party. She said a second boy – E6 – then threatened to smash Chevonea’s windows if she did not repeat the act on him the following day.
Chevonea did not realise that this second episode was being filmed. She discovered a sex tape had been made and was being passed around the school only four hours before her death, the court heard.
Mr Richmond accepted Chevonea did have sexual encounters with both men.
He said: “Whether she was intimidated to comply, or out of her depth and unable to process what to do to extricate herself from the situation, is less than clear.”
Both boys – neither of whom went to her school – testified at the inquest but denied engaging in sexual activity with the teenager.
The coroner said parts of their testimonies were evasive but he did not believe E6 intended Chevonea to die that day.
The inquest heard the teenager had been targeted by bullies since she was 11. Mr Richmond said there had been “clear failings” at the school and by social services to give her the support she needed.
He added: “Chevonea’s was a case which slipped through the net and exposed a hole in otherwise good practices at the school and social services.”
Chevonea died from multiple injuries after suffering a fractured skull in the fall. Her mother was in court to hear the verdict but declined to comment.
Nicky Pace, of the Wandsworth Safeguarding Children’s Board, said an investigation had found that the support given “could have been improved and communication between the agencies could have been better”.
Head teacher of Saint Cecilia’s, Niall Gallagher, said that they had learned “a number of valuable lessons”. - Daily Mail