Teenagers Who Bullied Another to Death
The victim was 19 when she jumped to her death, after horrendous bullying.
This is a particularly strange case for me, and the first I have written where I am going to hide the names of both the perpetrators and victim. I will explain later on why I took this stand. Although I am hiding the identity of those involved in the case, it is still an important message to tell. Especially if you have children.
A troubled childhood
Clare was a normal teenage girl, who had been adopted to a respected family at the age of three. Her father was a prominent member of the local community. Even though she had most things that teenagers wanted she struggled to make friends and fit in. Her father has stated that she struggled to adapt to life. To establish herself, she started hanging out with the wrong crowd. Her behaviour deteriorated.
She left home and it is believed she went to stay with a boyfriend. This relationship soon ended and she made a half-hearted suicide attempt. She told doctors that she had taken a handful of paracetamol and considered throwing herself out of the window. Three days before she died she returned home to collect her stuff. She said she had found digs and was moving in with friends, she was 19 at the time.
The wrong crowd
Tas and Jada were considered the wrong crowd. Jada had left her family at an early age and been placed in a flat in Birmingham. She was young and with minimal support, she was trying to survive. She met Tas through their love of drinking and partying. The hostel was set up by the local council to provide short term accommodation to young homeless people. Jada was given a flat there, where she allowed Clare and Tas to stay
Tas was younger than Jada by two years she was 13. With limited parental support and control, she was often out all hours. Jada had mental health problems, both children had unstable upbringings with Tas being described as feral. Jada was described as easily led.
Suicide or murder?
On the fateful day, the three of them had been hanging out together in Jada’s top floor flat. The girls had been drinking bottles of vodka. Tas and Jada started to bully Clare.
What started as name-calling and rude remarks, turned into physical aggression. She was slapped, abused and had aerosol sprayed into her eyes. At the time Tas was 13 and Jada 17.
Scared for her life Clare, climbed out of the top floor flat window to escape the girls. Tragically she lost her footing and fell to her death. Whether she was fleeing for her life or attempting another suicide attempt will never be known. The police took the view that she was fleeing for her life.
The case against the teenagers.
What followed then was a case that would change UK law forever. Both Jada and Tas were arrested on suspicion of murder. Witness reports were collected from others in the flat. Two years after the accident both were charged with manslaughter.
The elder Jada was portrayed as a victim of the younger Tas. It was said that she had been made to bully Clare as she was scared of what Tas would do to her had she not complied. The lawyer cited mental health issues and established that Jada was not fit to stand trial. She was placed in a mental health hospital for the duration of the sentence.
The policeman responsible for bringing the crime to court, said it was the ‘most extreme case of bullying he had ever seen.’
The younger Tas was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight years under juvenile detention. In a shock twist, the judge also removed the anonymity from her case. Until this point, minors were never mentioned in court announcements. He stated that Tas had lost her right to this because of the crime she had committed. Jada received a sentence for an indefinitely stay at a psychiatric hospital.
Tas was described as the instigator in the crime. At the time of sentencing, the judge remarked that Jada continued to bully vulnerable women while in custody at Holloway prison. ‘You tried to get several of them to hand themselves with their bedding Thornton told her.’ This would be in contrast to the assumption that Tas was the ringleader.
So why did I hide their identities? For two reasons, I disagree with the judge. Tas was still a child. One who had grown up in a family that cared little for her. She deserved her anonymity. That is not taking away the horrendous crime she committed. She bullied another girl until she had no choice, but to jump out of a window. The sentence was justified.
Which leads us to the second reason for anonymity. I worked for a short time with Tas. She was a clever girl, who was well behaved in detention. She worked hard and had several jobs in the prison to earn herself credit.
She never spoke about her crime. We spoke about the fact that she would never get a job when she was released. I remember saying she should work for anti-bullying charities. Who would be better to tell people about the dangers of bullying than someone who had been convicted because of it? I felt that this message would resonate with teenagers. When they have sat their contemplating bullying they could think of the consequences, as told by someone who had been there.
Are children born bad?
Throughout my time working in juvenile detention, I worked with many young people who had committed a range of crimes. Some more horrendous than the one mentioned here. Throughout though I always found the young people to be engaging and intelligent. Although some of them were considered evil for the crimes they had committed, there was always good running through them.
The lawyer who represented Jada stated that ‘left without adult supervision,’ any child could act this way.
I constantly question what makes a child killer? Genetics, mental health issues and lack of parenting can all be possible reasons. I believe though that no child is born evil. The evil they do is a by-product of evil that has been done to them.