Teenage twin sisters 'killed themselves after sex abuse claims were not believed'
TEENAGE twin sisters killed themselves after their claims about being victims of long-term sexual abuse were not believed, an inquest has heard.
Chris and Sam Gould felt "invalidated" after cops said they wouldn't be prosecuting despite their allegations of abuse, the sisters' parents claimed.
Sam took her own life in September 2018 when she was 16 years old. Chris, 17, was found dead near railway tracks in Teversham, Cambridgeshire just four months later.
Chris had previously said that the pair were "seriously sexually abused" from a young age, an inquest into Chris's death heard.
Despite a criminal investigation no one was charged – a decision that left the girls feeling "invalidated", the inquest was told.
At the inquest into Sam's death last month, it was revealed that she had borderline personality disorder "related to allegations of prolonged sexual abuse in her earlier childhood".
The twins' parents Jane Cannon and Ian Gould told this week's inquest that they were "not in any doubt" that the girls were abused, and that it was at "the root of Chris's mental health problems".
The couple from Fulbourn in Cambridgeshire said it was "incredibly difficult" for Chris to be at their family home after Sam's death.
Mr Gould said: "This was an extremely tragic situation in which Chris had decided to take her own life and go and be with her twin sister.
"Like anyone who has a sibling would understand, they were the best of friends and the worst of enemies – often at the same time.
"They were fiercely loyal to each other. They were the greatest supporters of one another when either was distressed.
"They could support each other in ways that no one else could."
Chris first spoke to someone about her alleged sexual abuse in June 2016, but claimed it had started in around 2007.
Mrs Cannon said the girls began to "seriously struggle" with their mental health when they were around 14.
She told the inquest: "Chris in particular was experiencing eating difficulties, self-harm, and having suicidal thoughts.
"She refused to talk about it, but we made her go to the school therapist, which she hated."
The inquest heard that Chris first attempted suicide in 2016 by taking an overdose, and she had also been self-harming.
In December 2016, cops told the family that they would not be prosecuting Chris and Sam's alleged abuser.
Mrs Cannon said: "You can imagine at that point the whole family had been on tenterhooks, wondering what would happen with the police inquiry, waiting and chasing for news – only to then find out that.
"It had a big impact on Chris – she felt invalidated and not believed."
After another suicide attempt at school, Chris was admitted as an "informal" patient at the Darwin Centre mental health clinic in Fulbourn.
On the night she died, Chris left her ward for a cigarette at around 6.30pm.
Twenty minutes later staff noticed that she hadn't come back.
Chris's boyfriend went to look for her at train tracks near Cherry Hinton at around 8.35pm – and then realised what had happened.
The girl's parents said Chris often walked along the same route.
The inquest is expected to continue until next week.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call The Samaritans for free any time, even on a mobile without credit, on 116123.
You’re Not Alone
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost – to suicide.It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes. And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet, it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun has launched the You're Not Alone campaign. To remind anyone facing a tough time, grappling with mental illness or feeling like there's nowhere left to turn, that there is hope.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others. You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
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