Wednesday, 7 May 2008
10:42:10 PM (GMT)
Popular schoolgirl dies in 'emo sucide cult'
By Richard Alleyne
Last Updated: 12:33AM BST 08/05/2008
A popular and fun-loving schoolgirl killed herself after becoming involved in a
self-harming youth cult which glamorises death, an inquest has heard.
KENT NEWS & PICTURES LTD
Hannah Bond was described by teachers as a popular and bright girl
Hannah Bond, 13, hanged herself from a bunk bed in her bedroom with a tie believing
her death would impress fellow followers of the “emo” movement, it was said.
The teenager, who left a suicide note and used the nickname “Living Disaster”,
committed suicide after flippantly telling her parents, “I want to kill myself”, when
she returned late from a friend’s house.
They dismissed the comment and said “don’t be silly” but an hour later found her
suspended an inch from the floor.
They dialled 999 and paramedics battled for over an hour to save her but she had lost
consciousness and died.
Roger Sykes, the coroner who recorded a verdict of suicide, found aspects of the
youth movement, which began in America, “very disturbing”.
He said: “A girl of 13 years old has taken her own life for no reason that by anyone
could be found to be justifiable.
“It is a terrible and tragic explanation to what happened. It is not glamorous, just
simply a tragic loss of such a young life.”
Maidstone Coroners’ Court heard that Hannah, of East Peckham, Kent, had lived a
double life, outwardly a bright fun-loving family-orientated schoolgirl, but inwardly
a devotee of “emo” which stands for emotional.
She had secretly chatted to “emo” followers online all over the world, talking about
death and the glamorisation of hanging and speaking about “the black parade” - a
place where “emos” believe they go after they die.
She had even scratched her wrists in a form of self-harm often seen as a form of
initiation into the popular fashion and lifestyle fad followed by young people who
dress in black like their older “Goth” crowd.
On her page on Bebo, the online networking site, she told friends with names like Sam
Suicide, that she was obsessed with the American band My Chemical Romance, who hit
number one with their last album The Black Parade.
In a tribute book dedicated to Hannah at her school, one of her friends wrote, “I
hope you enjoy the black parade”, and it emerged another “emo” girl at Hannah’s
school, Mascalls Secondary School in Paddock Wood, Kent, had tried to kill herself a
Her mother Heather, a housewife, told the court how she originally thought “emo” was
a harmless youth movement.
She said: “She called emo a fashion and I thought it was normal. I didn’t know about
the cuts. She used to wear Emo bracelets so her wrists were concealed.
“Hannah was just a normal girl. She had loads of friends. She could be a bit moody
but I thought it was just because she was a teenager. In the months before she had
become obsessed with the internet.
“But there were no signs this was going to happen. She had everything to live for.”
Her father Raymond, a martial arts instructor who broke down as he gave evidence,
said he had noticed the marks on her wrist.
He said: “We discussed it when I noticed the marks. When I was younger I was a punk
and we used to do tattoos and things, but I wasn’t angry with her because she
promised me she would never do it again.
“Although she was in touch with emos all over the world, particularly in America, she
was still in touch with the same girl she always was.
“The night before she died she came into my room and gave me a kiss on the cheek and
said 'I love you dad.’”
Vanessa Everett, her headteacher, told the inquest that none of her teachers felt she
had any issues.
“She was a popular and bright girl who had achieved merits day in and day out right
up until the day of her death,” she said.
She said they had been aware of “superficial self-harm” among younger students who
had joined the emo clan, but said it was difficult to determine those intent on
harming themselves and those using it as “a fashion statement.”
What is 'emo'?
Emo, which stands for "emotional, is a youth movement based around dark music, dark
clothing and a dark view of the world.
It was pioneered in America and emo followers adhere to a host of cult-like
conventions to demonstrate dedication to this new wave of pop music and lifestyle.
The emo brand of music sounds much like indie or rock, but it takes its unique name
from the emotional lyrics and melancholy themes.
One of the forerunners of this genre is the band My Chemical Romance from New Jersey,
While most fans simply enjoy the music and dress, others take their fascination to a
They indulge in self-harming and become obsessed with death and suicide.