Fake emails set up in name of anorexic Wymondham teenager taunt sister over her death
Cruel trolls posing as an anorexic 15-year-old who took her own life have targeted the Wymondham student's sister with taunting emails blaming her for the tragedy.
Ellie Long suffered with the eating disorder and depression and died on December 12, 2017.
But her mother Nicki revealed Ellie’s 17-year-old sister Hannah had since received emails under Ellie’s name, telling her she was responsible for her sister’s death.
The first cold-hearted message arrived around Christmas time, just before the inquest into Ellie’s death was due to begin on January 8 this year.
Mrs Long said: “She had an email come through overnight, it was an email sent from Ellie Long, someone had made a fake account and sent it to Hannah saying she was responsible for Ellie’s death and she should go kill herself.”
MORE: ‘I feel let down by everyone’ - Family say they were ‘failed’ over death of anorexic daughter, 15
And another arrived with a similar message after the family had a leveret statue, part of the GoGoHares trail for charity Break, installed at Wymondham High Academy in Ellie’s memory.
Mrs Long said she had contacted the police but they had not managed to find the culprit, so they had asked someone to investigate privately.
“The next half term she had another one,” Mrs Long said. “It came through this time, it was from Ellie Long again, and they’ve used a Hungarian email address and VPN (virtual private network).”
The email again blamed Hannah for Ellie’s death but also took aim at Mrs Long. She said: “It said ‘perhaps you can blame your mum, have you seen the size of her?’.”
She added: “It’s sick and it’s twisted.”
MORE: Anorexic teen told therapist she ‘wanted to end it all’, inquest hears
Last year Paul Hind, from Hexham, Northumberland, was handed 14 months in jail after he set up a fake profile in the name of murdered Hemsby student Hannah Witheridge and trolled friends and family.
At the time Miss Witheridge’s sister, Laura, said it was an “absolute atrocity”.
Mrs Long said the emails were just one of the ways the whole family had been impacted by Ellie’s death, where failings were found in her care.
“Hannah does suffer, she’s not herself,” Mrs Long said. “She doesn’t go out, she’s desperate to still go to university.”
Hannah and Ellie had been close since their father died of cancer when they were young. Ellie’s death had hit Hannah - who already struggled with her mental health - hard and she had since been diagnosed with PTSD.
MORE: ‘Grey area’ in software meant ambulance was not sent to anorexic teenager before she took her own life
“She’s never been back upstairs. [Ellie’s] room is exactly how it was. We had to turn another room into a bedroom for Hannah because she won’t sleep upstairs or alone.”
And Mrs Long said even though her eldest daughter is nearly 18, she asks family members to stay at the house when she goes out for the evening.
“I don’t think I could bear anything happening to her. I think [Ellie] did find it easier to talk to Hannah than me,” Mrs Long, 48, said.
“It’s hard to put into words, I lost my husband so I’ve had loss of a close loved one before. When you lose someone who takes their own life it’s the constant stream of questions, I go over and over and over why. I do find it hard.”
Mrs Long had found help with Nic Hart, whose daughter UEA student Averil also had anorexia and died in 2012.
MORE: Mother pays tribute to her ‘kind, gentle, and sincere’ daughter as coroner rules on teenager’s death
“He was a great help, he said do this do that, get your daughter’s medical records,” she said.
And there were striking similarities between the two cases, she had discovered.
She said the rate at which Ellie had deteriorated had taken them all by surprise.
“Really from the original diagnosis we’re only talking September through to December when she died,” she said.
On Monday a coroner told the healthcare trust’s involved in Ellie’s care things had improve to stop further deaths happening.
But Mrs Long said there was still more to do. She said: “The changes that really we want to see since Ellie’s death is the trust really taking on board the regulation 28 decision that the coroner made, but probably even going further than that and actually putting something new into practice for people with mental health especially if they’re still in a school situation or whether it be college or university.
MORE: ‘Patients end up suffering’ - Anorexia service still failing patients, says father of teen who died in 2012
“And having a different protocol where more people are involved in young people’s care so they’re not just relying on that one service, to take a bit more of the strain and with the continuity of the care.
Cameron Bryce, Mrs Long’s partner, added: “We’re just hoping that the message has got out, that people will ask more questions.”
Teenager dreamed of being a doctor after dad’s cancer death
Mrs Long said Ellie dreamed to be a doctor after her dad died of cancer.
The teenager had her long blonde hair cut short, and donated it to the Little Princess Trust, which makes wigs for those who lose their hair through chemotherapy.
Mrs Long said: “With her dad dying from cancer she had spoken about going into that field, she wanted to be the one to tell people they were not going to lose a loved one.”
She added: “We always say she was nerdy. She loved school, she was such a lovely girl.”
After her death, Ellie’s organs went on to save a life.
MORE: Family welcomes coroner’s demand for change at mental health trust after teenager’s death
One of another teenage girl, who needed a new liver, and her kidneys were also donated.
A leveret sculpture showing science, discovery and astrology was placed in the Wymondham High Academy library in Ellie’s memory, and the school raised £1,132 for charity Break.
The inscription on the leveret reads: “A smile can hid e a thousand tears. Love, learn and be kind, always.”
What went wrong with Ellie’s care?
Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk, issued a regulation 28 report to the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) on Monday, calling on the authority to make improvements to note-taking and communication with outside agencies.
After an inquest earlier this year, her family hit out at failings by the mental heath trust, which has said it launched a “detailed review” after the teenager’s death
Diane Hull, chief nurse at NSFT, said the trust had undertaken a “detailed review” after Ellie’s death.
“We value the input of the coroner’s service and families to help us drive improvements to services for the future,” she said.
But Ellie’s family said they also felt more needed to be done to support families out of hours. During one episode, they were told an ambulance would not be sent out for someone in Ellie’s condition.
Mr Bryce said: “It did upset her that night when no one was going to bother with her.”
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