A young woman found dead in woodland near Portslade in West Sussex is thought to have been part of a WhatsApp group that discussed suicide and self-harm.
Three other members of the group have also reportedly taken their own lives.
Amy Springer, 20, was reported missing from her supported living accommodation on Friday, March 19. Officers from Sussex Police searched Amy’s room in hope of finding some clue to where she might have gone but were unsuccessful.
Staff at the home said that Amy had gone missing 15 times last year, and three times in 2021 before her final disappearance.
On a number of these occasions, Amy was found to have self-harmed.
Brighton coroner Dr Karen Henderson said that even though Amy had been diagnosed with a number of conditions, including autism, emotionally unstable personality disorder and complex PTSD, she appeared to have been doing better in the weeks before her death.
Amy’s old brother David had died when she was just six years old, leading to “very severe and life-limiting trauma”.
“She was no doubt deeply loved,” Dr Henderson said, “but throughout her life she suffered many difficulties and challenges that had a considerable impact on her ability to navigate her teenage years and the early years of adulthood.
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“In the background was a very severe and life-limiting trauma from her childhood," Dr Henderson added.
“No doubt it caused her considerable pain that she was unable to overcome".
Dr Henderson said it was in spite of the best efforts of her family and support staff at her home in Hove that she could not get out of a pattern of behaviour which included self-harm and frequent disappearances.
Amy’s uncle, Timothy Roberts, told the Brighton Argus: “Amy was so bright and bubbly when she was in good form. When she laughed, everyone laughed with her because they couldn’t help it.
“Her laughter was infectious. She had to battle with issues from her past and against her own mind, which made life very difficult for her.”
Amy’s body was found in woods near Portslade cricket club in Benfield Valley, Portslade on March 21.
For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.
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