Girl, 16, hanged herself after abuse fears

A 16-year-old girl hanged herself three years after concerns were first raised over her relationship with her karate instructor, an inquest heard today.

Dana Baker
Dana Baker

Dana Baker, who attended Wolverley High School, near Kidderminster, was found hanging from a tree in Kidderminster in 2011. She had been abused by her karate instructor, Jaspal Riat, who, following her death, was jailed for eight years.

During the first day of the inquest into her death at Stourport Coroners Court, her school nurse Deborah Turley said the first she heard of any potential abuse was December 16 2008.

She said during a regular drop-in session run at the school, Dana went to meet a sexual health nurse who was working alongside Miss Turley to ask for what she thought to be a second pregnancy test.

The sexual health nurse, Elizabeth Swan, then asked Miss Turley for a second opinion. She told the inquest: "Natually we always ask ' are you in a relationship at the moment' and 'how old is the partner', I'm led to believe that Dana said she was in a relationship with a much older man, who was 40 plus and was her karate instructor."

But when questioned about this for a second time by Miss Turley, she said Dana retracted the statement and instead her partner was a 18-year-old Sikh boy who needed to keep the relationship secret from his family.

Miss Turley said she still decided to break confidentiality which was explained to Dana, and refer the issue to safeguarding nurses.

She then took Dana home to her parents and they made a call to the instructor in question. She said: "Dana was obviously upset, I explained the situation to her parents, that Dana had made that disclosure.

"The parents were obviously distressed however they were very surprised at what she said and felt it couldn't true.

"That was the impression I got. Dana's mother then rang the gentleman who she said she was having a relationship with and told him what had actually happened and that was Dana was at home. I think the impression I got was that they couldn't believe that had happened and they were saying that to him."

The inquest continues.