A grieving mother told an inquest this week how she used the Find My Phone app to locate her missing teenage daughter’s body.
18-year-old Abi Oliver died in January last year in a park near Chiswick House, west London, after taking her own life.
The teenager had told her mum she was going to meet friends, however she sadly never came home.
Abi had reportedly struggled with mental health issues for a number of years, including time spent in various hospitals and psychiatric units. The teenager even spent six months in a hospital in Manchester, despite concerns from her family it was hundreds of miles away and too far from her friends and relatives.
The coroner described Abi’s death and circumstances around it as ‘one of the most distressing cases’ they had ever seen, according to the Metro.
On the day of her death, a group of friends had reportedly gathered together to search for Abi after she failed to return home. They used the Find My Phone app to trace her.
Shortly afterwards, mum Tasha Oliver found her daughter and performed CPR until emergency services arrived. Unfortunately they were not able to save the 18-year-old, who later died at West Middlesex Hospital.
In a statement read at West London Coroners’ Court, Tasha said:
I was happy that Abi had made plans to meet with friends on her own as Abi had been suffering with long-term depression and anxiety. Abi planning to meet a friend was good because she would not even go to the shops with me.
According to Tasha, the teenager would cut through the grounds of Chiswick House before heading home, but on that day Abi took longer than usual, and Tasha received no reply when she texted her daughter to say: ‘Are you okay? Love mum.’
I was unsure how long to leave her. I did not want to pressure her. I even texted my friend asking how long to leave it.
I zoomed in on the (Find My Phone) map and it showed Abi being in the grounds of Chiswick House.
Since her death, Abi’s family have questioned the guidelines currently in place for patients moving from child to adult mental health facilities, saying they do not want more teenagers to fall into a ‘black hole’ in the system.
Coroner Sean Cummings said he is considering contacting the government about potential improvements for mental health services for young people. The coroner ruled Abi’s death was a result of suicide.
Abi’s family have set up a Just Giving page in order to raise money for Mind, the mental health charity, in memory of their daughter. You can donate here.
If you’re experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They’re open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58, and they also have a webchat service if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone.
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.