When an image of a young girl lying in the road after she was ‘killed in a car accident’ was posted to Facebook, observers were outraged.
The photograph showed what appeared to be an unidentified blonde schoolgirl, dead in the road and covered by a high-visibility emergency services jacket.
Since the graphic and disturbing image was shared on a local Leicester Facebook page, Spotted, New Parks and surrounding areas, it has emerged the post was a stunt to raise awareness for road safety.
In fact, the young girl in the image was a mannequin and the accompanying text was false, according to an anonymous email sent to Leicester Mercury.
It is with deep regret that I have to inform you that this morning a little girl was involved in an RTA outside a Leics school… The child was declared unresponsive at 0918 this morning.
It seems many social media users were taken in by the convincing post and accompanying image. The misguided post even had parents worrying for the safety of their own children.
The post sparked disgust and outrage with immediate effect. One woman wrote, ‘This is just sick. If that was my daughter, I would hunt you down.’
Taking a photo of child on the floor … you should be ashamed. A child’s death isn’t to be mocked. I’m literally appalled.
To say this post is disgusting or out of order is an understatement. The person should be named and shamed.
It is unclear who posted the stunt but the owner of the page has since removed the individual as an administrator.
A spokesperson for Leicester Police confirmed no road traffic accident had taken place, no children were harmed and the ‘body’ in the photograph was a mannequin.
The photograph was taken outside Inglehurst Junior School where there has been an issue with unsafe and illegal parking.
However, the school were not involved in this well-meaning but wildly misjudged stunt.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.