“Sometimes the greatest danger to your child can be your own child”, says tragic Maisie Baxter’s mother
The grieving mother of a Norfolk teenager found hanged at her home, said yesterday that she wanted to warn parents that 'sometimes the greatest danger to your child can be your own child'.
Maisie Baxter, who was also known as Maisie Gooch, died in February at her home in Trowse.
Yesterday a Norwich inquest into her death was told a thorough investigation by police had found 'no definitive reason' why the 13-year-old would have wanted to harm herself.
Norfolk coroner William Armstrong told the hearing: 'The answer to that question remains elusive. No-one knows exactly what was in Maisie's mind at the time. Clearly Maisie was, at the time, in a troubled and disturbed state of mind. She decided deliberately to inflict harm on herself and may have had some incoherent, vague wish to die. We simply do not know.'
Speaking after the inquest, Robyn Baxter, Maisie's mother, described her oldest daughter as a happy, bubbly girl with 'such an amazing future ahead of her'.
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She said: 'She was one of the funniest, bubbliest, friendliest girls you could have met. She had so many attributes. I could talk about her for a month non-stop.
'She had so many talents and such an amazing future ahead of her. I know we all say these things but she could have done anything. She had the actual talent.'
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Ms Baxter said she was desperate to raise awareness among other mothers and fathers that, no matter how happy your child seems, 'this does happen'.
She said: 'This does happen to normal, happy children who don't suffer from depression, who don't have bullying issues, who don't have any real issues in their lives. This is a real problem.
'I think awareness could be raised that sometimes the greatest danger to your child can be your own child.'
A keen singer, Maisie, who attended Framingham Earl High School at Poringland, had an older brother Jody, who is 16, younger sisters Tilly, 12, and Poppy, 10, and a baby brother Solomon who is nine months old.
Ms Baxter said her family was coping 'as well as you could possibly hope' and tha her other children had been 'an inspiration' during such a difficult time.
'The kids are coping well,' she said. 'Jody gets his GCSEs tomorrow and I'm so proud he managed to do his exams. Tilly and Poppy are two very brave, loving little girls.'
The inquest heard that Ms Baxter and her fiance Phil O'Brien had returned home with a new puppy for the family on February 18 at about 5.50pm.
When Maisie did not come to see what the surprise was, they went to find her.
Maisie's mum Robyn Baxter, 34, told the hearing how she had found the word 'goodbye' written on a television screen in her daughter's room as Mr O'Brien tried to resuscitate her.
No wounds or other signs of harm were found on her body. A post mortem investigation found she died as a result of hanging.
Recording a narrative verdict yesterday, Mr Armstrong said: 'Maisie died as a result of her own deliberate actions whilst in a disturbed state of mind. It is not possible to form a reliable conclusion as to her intentions at the time.'
The coroner said he could not record a verdict of suicide unless he was sure Maisie had 'intended to bring her life to an end'.
He said: 'Clearly her actions were deliberate. She was an intelligent girl and she knew what she was doing.
'But on careful inspection I cannot be sure she realised her actions were likely to be wholly irreversible and she would be making a decision that would bring her life to a permanent end. She was experiencing the inevitable turbulence of adolescence.'
Following Maisie's death, her family were inundated with support from their community in Trowse. Local people raised money for them to have a family holiday in Portugal and tributes to the 13-year-old flooded in.
Ms Baxter said: 'We were overwhelmed, and still are on a daily basis, about how much love and support and humanity Trowse has shown.
'We were having pies delivered and home-made this and home-made that, a ridiculous amount of cards and flowers, and really beautiful memories, personal memories.
'Everything in our lives, from now on, will have that bittersweet feel to it.'
Yesterday's inquest was attended by more than 10 members of Maisie's family, including her father Steven Gooch.
Mr Armstrong said: 'Her family are in mourning of not only what she was but what she was to become had her life not been cut short. Her brief life remains a precious gift and one that will always be treasured by those she loved and loved her.'