A GRIEVING father has told how his 11-year-old daughter hanged herself two days before Christmas.

Damian Mayhew said he heard his wife frantically calling his name and ran upstairs to find her cradling their daughter Lily in her arms.

But Mr Mayhew, of Conifer Road in Southampton, said there was nothing to suggest that Lily had planned to take own life.

Giving evidence at her inquest he said she may have died after deciding to play a trick on her brother and sister.

Daily Echo:

In a statement read to the hearing he said: “We’re convinced it was a terrible prank gone wrong and that she had no intention of taking her life. She was a happy young girl with no worries and was looking forward to Christmas.

“The knot she managed to tie was a fluke - an awful piece of bad luck.”

Lily was rushed to Southampton General Hospital but doctors were unable to revive her.

Dr Samantha Holden, a consultant paediatric pathologist at the hospital, said the cause of Lily’s death was pressure on her neck.

Det Sgt Gary Cable said there was no evidence she was being bullied or had anything else on her mind. Describing her death on the evening of December 23 last year he said: “It was a shock for everyone and it’s unclear why it happened.”

Daily Echo:

Senior coroner Grahame Short added: “Lily shared a bedroom with her elder sister and liked to play pranks on her and on her brother.

“But she was alone at the time and no-one witnessed what actually happened.

“Her mother found her hanging from a cord. Despite CPRE carried out by her parents, and later by paramedics, she was certified dead in hospital.

“From the evidence in this case I’m entirely satisfied this was a self-inflicted act.

“What’s more difficult is trying to decide how she came to have the cord around her neck and what was in her mind. It’s possible this was accidental in the sense she may have done it to shock her elder sister when she went up to bed.

“A lot of people don’t know how quickly putting something around your neck can lead to loss of consciousness.”

Mr Short recorded a conclusion that Lily hanged herself “for reasons that have not been determined”.

Turning to Mr Mayhew, his wife Nickola and the people sitting with them he added: “A death like this is devastating. Life will never be the same for any of you again.”