Social media concerns a 'major issue' - coroner

File photo / AP
File photo / AP

A coroner has aired fresh concerns over social media at an inquest into the death of a Tokoroa teenager today.

The Coroner's Court at Rotorua today heard how 17-year-old Micaela Emily Stothers and her friend Raymond Gardiner set up a Facebook page titled Rumour HateIt shortly before she took her own life on July 24, after consuming alcohol at a party and sending off a series of final text messages to friends and family members.

Gardiner revealed to the court that a post commenting that Micaela had been six weeks pregnant and had had an abortion was created by he and Micaela one week before her death.

Family members recounted how Micaela had been in tears over the comment, while her mother, Heidi Hartley, told Gardiner that she refused to believe she could have made the page herself.

She said she believed her daughter was not capable of doing such a thing.

Gardiner said he took down the Facebook page - which he said had nothing to do with her death - saying he "didn't want anyone to get harmed because of it".

Her grandfather, Frederick Stothers, told the court he had been left shocked at losing his only granddaughter.

"What had gone wrong, I don't know, but it hurts."

Coroner Wallace Bain said the case highlighted concerns around texting and social media among young people, which he described as a "major issue".

He reserved his findings.

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- APNZ

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