Cops download social media messages of girl,14, who killed herself

Police download 64,000 pages of social media messages from phone of girl, 14, who killed herself after being bullied at school

  • Mia Janin, 14, attended the Jewish Free School in Harrow where pupils were ordered to delete a Snapchat group involving her
  •  The teenager tragically took her life in march last year after the first day back
  •  The phone which may contain key evidence had been locked for over a year 

Police investigating the death of a 14-year-old schoolgirl is believed to have killed herself after receiving messages on social media have 64,000 pieces of information to examine, an inquest review heard. 

Mia Janin, who attended the Jewish Free School, sent a voice message to a friend ahead of returning to school from the Covid-19 lockdown in which she said she was ‘mentally preparing herself to get bullied’.

Tragically, she took her life on March 12, last year, with her dad Mariano Janin expressing concern that she had received venomous messages on social media which may have tipped her over the edge. 

It is known that she had accessed a social media app just hours before her death, but her family are still waiting to know what she sent or received.

Mr Janin described Mia as a ‘bubbly’ girl who had just been invited on a holiday to Greece with her best friend from school

Janin became the third pupil at the Jewish state school in North London to kill herself since 2017 when she took her own life one day after returning to school following lockdown last year

During a pre-inquest review hearing at Barnet Coroner’s Court yesterday, Detective Inspector Gail Steele said that police officers had gained access to Mia’s phone and a download was in process. 

Speaking via video-link, said: ‘In relation to the phone, I’ve spoken to one of the people reviewing it and they’ve said if you printed out the information from the phone it would amount to 64,000 pages of information. 

‘So, as you can see the task is quite great.’ 

In a previous hearing, it was revealed that pupils at JFS were ordered to delete a Snapchat group involving Mia and other students by teachers, just five days after she took her life. 

Mariano, who lost his wife four months after Mia’s death, has previously implored pupils and parents of Mia’s school, the Jewish Free School, to come forward with information. 

During a previous interview with ITV’s Good Morning, he told Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary: ‘I believed she had a really bad day at school, first day. 

He also believes that parents should be able to access any messages or videos their children may have seen on social media sites before they died.

Under current laws, social media forms such as Meta and TikTok are not required to hand over their data. 

Speaking via video-link, Mia’s dad said: ‘I think it would be helpful to contact the social media platforms as we spoke about in the last hearing.’

During a previous interview with ITV’s Good Morning, he told Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary: ‘I believed she had a really bad day at school, first day. 

‘And then by social media, because she was until late night online, but the problem is we need access to the phone.’

Mia, who was a Year 10 pupil, had asked her parents if she could move schools the evening before her death, and her family believed that she was being bullied. 

She is the third student at JFS to commit suicide since 2017, with the death of 14-year-old Molly Russell sparking an emergency Ofsted investigation into the largest Jewish school in Europe.

The report downgraded JFS from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’ after it emerged that many pupils were subjected to bullying with little intervention from staff. Molly had similarly killed herself after viewing messages on social media. 

During a recent inquest review hearing on September 2, senior Coroner Andrew Walker ordered senior executives at Meta and Pinterest to appear at her inquest to provide evidence.

At today’s hearing, DI Steele said that following communication with Mia’s family, additional enquiries were made of staff at JFS. 

She added: ‘Two have declined to give information and we are waiting on a third who does not work there anymore.’ 

Two teachers at the school and the rabbi had been contacted but had refused to give statements.

Jewish Free School in Kenton, North London, was branded ‘inadequate’ in an emergency Ofsted inspection following Mia’s death last year

New laws introduced before Mia’s death, schools had been given powers to delete social media accounts and records.

Meanwhile, a change.org petition was created in June 2021 by a fellow pupil, who wrote that Mia had been ‘brutally bullied for such a long time’ and urged for mental health improvement at the school. 

She said: ‘Since then all JFS did was bring in counsellors for a week and then leave us to our own devices.

‘We had an assembly on the same day introducing our interim head teacher and not once did they mention Mia or bullying or prioritising mental health but acting like the school will become a military site where all they care about is behaviour punctuality and uniform.’ 

As of September 2022, the petition has received over 6,000 signatures.

In response, the Headteacher of JFS, Dr David Moody, told MyLondon: ‘The school is unable to comment about an ongoing police investigation, but as the new Headteacher of JFS, I am confident that all possible information has been made available to the police to support them in reaching a conclusion.’

‘OfSTED have recently graded JFS as a good school and were pleased with the sustained changes enacted by both Governors and the new leadership team.’

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Mariano said: ‘This whole experience has been a nightmare that is too horrible to explain. 

‘Every day feels as though I am living in slow motion.’ 

He implored: ‘Parents with information – please take it to the coroner. We need to know what happened for the sake of other children as well as for Mia.’

Due to the ‘extensive’ examination of Mia’s phone data, and the potential need to contact other witnesses, an inquest date has now been set for March 29 and March 30, 2023.

https://www.change.org/p/jewish-free-school-prioritising-mental-health-at-jfs

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