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Family grieve after girl's tragic death

PUBLISHED: 19:56 05 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:15 24 February 2010

By Sarah Chambers

A GRIEVING mother has told how she discovered her 12-year-old daughter hanged in her bedroom just hours after the youngster had gone upstairs to play her music.

By Sarah Chambers

A GRIEVING mother has told how she discovered her 12-year-old daughter hanged in her bedroom just hours after the youngster had gone upstairs to play her music.

Tyne McCalla, a Leiston Middle School pupil, was found dead at her home in Haylings Road, Leiston, on Sunday evening.

Her devastated parents, Debbie and David, and brother Andrew, 14, were trying to come to terms yesterday with her death, which a post-mortem examination confirmed was caused by hanging.

The family said they were waiting for an inquest to find out what happened to Tyne, but did not believe their daughter, who was looking forward to going to high school, had been suicidal.

Mrs McCalla also made an emotional appeal to parents to let their children know they loved them.

“One minute I had a daughter and the next she was gone. It's so precious. Let them know you love them and you are there for them and nothing is ever that bad it can't be solved,” she said.

“An hour before she had been playing music because I heard her jumping about. I was watching a stupid programme on the TV.”

Mrs McCalla called up to her daughter at about 7pm because it was about the time they usually ate on Sundays, but she got no reply.

“I went in there and I'll never forget it,” she said. “I had one of those high beds. I think if I hadn't got that… She had such a vivid imagination and she would try all sorts.”

Mrs McCalla said she had gone shopping with Tyne - whom she described as popular and beautiful - on Saturday and had bought her daughter some clothes and books.

“I really don't think she would have deliberately done this. She had everything to live for. I just think this was a tragic accident because she had a very, very vivid imagination and would try everything,” she added.

“Like all kids, she's been through bad times - there's been bullying in the past, a little bit.”

But Mrs McCalla praised Tyne's school for the way it had dealt with the problem and said it had been sorted out.

“The last few weeks she seemed to be okay - maybe a little quieter. She loved reading and listening to music. There was no indication of this,” she said.

Tyne had showed a talent for singing and had had a couple of small roles in a local production of Cinderella, which she had greatly enjoyed. She was also in the Guides and went to Guide camp.

“I just can't work it out,” said Mrs McCalla as she fought back tears. “She had so much going for her. She was popular - a typical Leo - what I call a leader.”

Mr McCalla added: “She was so beautiful. She had everything to live for. She was talented. She loved her animals.”

His wife praised Tyne's elder brother, Andrew, who had been at her side, comforting her throughout the ordeal of the past few days. “He's been brilliant, he's the only thing to keep me going,” she said.

Although Tyne's parents separated and went on to settle down with new partners, the family remained close-knit and have been comforting each other following her death.

The family moved to the area from Essex when Tyne was 18 months old. They lived in Saxmundham, where Tyne attended the primary school, and moved to Leiston more than three ago.

Leiston Middle School headteacher Steve Wood said: “We can confirm one of our pupils died under tragic circumstances this weekend.

“The news has been distressing for everyone at the school and we are doing everything we can to provide support and comfort for the pupils.

“A team of counsellors at the school is working with children to help them come to terms with this devastating news and a special assembly was held on Monday.

“Our thoughts at this terribly sad time are naturally with the family and I offer them my sincerest and heart-felt condolences.”

An inquest into Tyne's death was opened by Lowestoft coroner George Leguen de Lacroix and adjourned until March 7 yesterday.

sarah.chambers@eadt.co.uk


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