A BRIGHT and cheerful schoolgirl took her own life nine months after she began taking a strong medication for acne, an inquest heard.
Annabel Wright, 15, had no history of depression when was found dead in her bedroom in Yorkshire in 2019.
Dad Simon told the inquest, held in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, that his daughter seemed completely calm as he walked past her earlier that evening.
But just 20 minutes later, Annabel's gran discovered her dead.
Brave brother Will, then aged just 12, tried to help his dad revive his sister until the ambulance and police arrived, the hearing was told.
Annabel left no suicide note and toxicology tests for drugs and alcohol were negative.
The family said that cheery Annabel never worried about a thing and her mum, Helen, joked she “would live to be 120”.
The teenager attended St David’s School in Harrogate where the inquest heard she was performing well.
“She was very happy there," her mum said. "She was doing really well. She had a great circle of friends."
Annabel's mum told the inquest that she did not realise anything was wrong with her daughter when she noticed some scratches on her wrist at the end of January 2019 – after she had started on Roaccutane.
At first, her daughter claimed she had injured herself in a fall.
But the scratches were too regular to be anything other than self-inflicted, her mother said.
Later, her daughter confessed she had cut herself with a razor blade in the bathroom just moments after chatting happily to her friends on the phone.
“She said she just felt low. She could not explain why,” her mum added.
On July 19 2018, Mrs Wright and her daughter attended Church Lane Surgery in Boroughbridge for a routine review of her medication.
She had suffered from acne since the age of 12 and had been on lymecycline antibiotics for a year.
At the consultation, Mrs Wright said the GP, whom they had not seen before, referred Annabel to a dermatologist at Harrogate District Hospital, something the family had not asked for.
Mrs Wright, 50, continued: “We looked at each other and thought – result!
"We could get her off the antibiotics and hopefully get her on something she did not have an issue with.
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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.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
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“I had not expected it. Her skin was a lot better than it had been. The lymecycline had worked wonders for her acne.”
Asked by the coroner Jonathan Leach how her daughter felt at having acne for so long, Mrs Wright replied: “It did not bother her. She was not distressed about it particularly.
“She was concerned she would get some scarring. Like most teenagers, she would go into the bathroom and pick at it a bit and ask ‘Do you think it will scar?’
“I said ‘No. Just leave it alone. She was not distressed about it.”
The inquest was read the new GP’s letter stating: “Annabel had been on lymecycline for a year. Her acne has not improved.
"Her face shows evidence of very extensive acne. I saw her because it had not been resolved.”
Mrs Wright did not entirely agree that her daughter’s skin was that bad but picked her up from school for the hospital appointment on October 3 2018.
She continued: “We were sat in the waiting room and there were a number of other patients who had very bad acne.
“I said to Annabel under my breath I think you need to be prepared that they are going to say ‘You just have an oily skin, you are just a teenager, off you go’.”
The consultant told Annabel “she wanted her on the Roaccutane before she got any scarring”.
Her mum added: “She was only 14 and it panicked her.”
The family were given a leaflet which Annabel ticked boxes on and her mother signed.
'NO OTHER TREATMENT WAS OFFERED'
There was a warning that “a number of side effects may occur but there are extremely rare”.
Mrs Wright said: “There is nothing in there about suicide. Annabel was not depressed. I was told only children depressed about their skin might take their own lives.
“When you sit opposite an expert in their field and they say ‘Yes, but it could be argued that these children were depressed about their acne – it sways you.
“I was not aware that sudden suicidal impulses could overcome a perfectly normal person.”
Mrs Wright said she had never requested the change from antibiotics and had misgivings from the start.
She told today’s inquest: “I distinctly remember saying I had read about this drug years before and two Americans had taken their own lives.
“She said that could be because they were depressed about their skin.
"I was told the reaction of depression was linked to their skin and Annabel was not depressed about her skin.
“There was no other treatment suggested or offered.”
She went on to tell the inquest that she was "absolutely" convinced the drug had led to her daughter’s death, adding: "Normal, happy people do not just commit suicide without any sign or lead up to it."
The hearing continues.
Contact the Samaritans
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