A father who came across a police cordon while walking his dog in the woods was unaware that it was because his 17-year-old daughter had taken her own life there.
Nicole Guest hanged herself in the early hours on Ashton Heath in Wigan, Greater Manchester, after messaging friends in the early hours to say she was going for a walk because she was upset and wanted to clear her head.
The schoolgirl, who had a history of depression, confidence issues and school absences, appeared to be ‘blossoming’ in the months before her death on July 19.
A conclusion of suicide was recorded by coroner Catherine Cundy at Bolton Coroner’s court.
Nicole Guest, 17, hanged herself in woodland on Ashton Heath in Wigan, Greater Manchester, after messaging friends in the early hours to say that she was going for a walk to clear her head
The schoolgirl’s body was found by dogwalkers at 6am on July 19. Friends have been uploading pictures of her on a gofundme page aiming to raise money towards her funeral
Nicole had messaged friends to say she had gone home, but had actually stayed in the woods. Her body was found by dog walkers at 6am.
Her father, Mark, believing Nicole was asleep at home, didn’t realise that the Heath in Ashton-in-Makerfield was closed that morning because of his daughter until police arrived at the family home.
Nicole had tidied her room the evening before to earn pocket money for a shopping trip she had planned with a friend that day.
She had also asked her father to text a support worker from Start Well the evening that she died so that they could speak.
He asked Nicole if there was anything she wanted to talk about, but she replied that she wanted to speak to the support worker.
Her father Mark came across a police cordon when walking his dog in the woods that morning but did not realise that it was for his daughter. Nicole pictured with a friend
The daughter had a history of depression, confidence issues and school absences, but had appeared to be ‘blossoming’ in the months before her death. Friends have posted tributes to her on a page raising funds for her funeral
In the years before she died Nicole would often shut herself away in her bedroom and refuse to engage with staff from mental health support agencies, the court heard.
This included pastoral care services at her school, Children’s Services, Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMS) and Wigan’s Start Well support service.
However, eventually she began talking to a support worker from Start Well and went on to be able to sit some of her exams at home and at school.
She secured a place at college following encouragement from Aspiring Futures and, according to her father, she started to make friends there and grow in confidence.
Her mother Sandra said that in the months before her daughter’s death she was ‘blossoming’.
Talking about the night before she died, Nicole’s father said his daughter was ‘her normal self’.
‘She was fine, there was no indication of a low mood.’
Police coroner’s officer Marcheta Hogan said: ‘It was very clear from conversations on there that Nicole had decided to seek help for her anxieties.
‘She was looking a lot brighter, she was making plans for the future’. Nicole went to her GP with her mum on July 17 about an unrelated health matter, but did not mention anything about her state of mind to the doctor during the visit.’
Nicole had refused to talk to support officers before opening up to one from Start Well. She went on to be able to sit her exams at school and at home
Nicole also secured a place at college and, according to her father, had started to make friends and to grow in confidence
When police examined Nicole’s laptop, iPad and phone following her death they found no evidence to suggest that she had been planning to harm herself.
Instead, they found evidence that she had been talking to her friends about her feelings and making plans for her 18th birthday.
There was also a note on her phone stating she was going to tell her mother and the GP about the ‘depression stuff’ and that she wanted to get better.
Tests found there were no drugs or alcohol in Nicole’s system and police ruled out any suspicious circumstances.
Her cause of death was listed as hanging.
Recording a conclusion of suicide, coroner Catherine Cundy said she was satisfied that Nicole had intended to take her own life.
The inquest was held at Bolton Coroner’s court, pictured, where coroner Catherine Cundy recorded a verdict of suicide
She added: ‘It is a real tragedy that Nicole should have died at such a young age when so many people cared about her.’
Following the hearing, Nicole’s mum described her daughter as ‘beautiful’.
After her death, Nicole’s friends raised more than £2,500 in her memory, which her family chose to donate to the suicide prevention charity Papyrus.
For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details.