Father of bullied schoolgirl says he is ‘victim of failing system’ following inquest into her death

The father of a schoolgirl who killed herself after being bullied said the family has got some answers after the inquest into her death, but added that he is a “victim of this failing system”.

Mia Janin, a Year 10 pupil at the Jewish Free School (JFS) in Kenton, north-west London, was found dead at her family home in Barnet on March 12 2021.

North London area coroner Tony Murphy concluded that Mia, 14, “took her life while still a child and while still in the process of maturing into adulthood”, at Barnet Coroner’s Court on Friday.

Mia’s father, Mariano Janin (pictured), paid tribute to his daughter, saying “she was fantastic, she was very bubbly, good sense of humour, she was beautiful, she was very kind, very creative”.

Mr Murphy said Mia was last seen alive at about 10pm on March 11 2021, when she said goodnight to her parents in their family home.

She was found hanged by her parents at about 6.50am on March 12 2021. Two undated letters in Mia’s handwriting were found on her bed addressed to “her loving family and friends”, which “explained that Mia decided to end her life”.

Mr Murphy added before his conclusion that Mia had “close friends including at her secondary school, but she also experienced bullying from some male students”.

He added that neither Mia’s family or teachers were aware of that before her death.

Mr Murphy said: “Mia’s secondary school has introduced systemic changes following her death.

“Mia is much missed by her loving family, caring friends and the wider community.”

The area coroner said he would let the legal representatives know at a later time if he would be issuing a prevention of future deaths report.

In a statement after the inquest, Mr Janin said: “Nothing will bring back my wife and my daughter Mia.

“For almost three years we have sought answers for the loss of Mia, today we found some of those answers and the failure of the people who trust and were meant to keep her safe.

“My daughter experienced prolonged and sustained bullying in various ways in person and online. In a way it’s a relief this has now been recognised, however, there does need to be accountability. Another family cannot live what I have lived.”

Mr Janin added: “In order to protect our kids I think we need to do a lot of things.

“I think we need to put some limits on the access of the kids on the internet and how we can recollect the data if something like this has happened.

“We need to create a safe environment for our kids.”

Asked what he would like to see in a potential prevention of future deaths report, he said: “I’m not a specialist, I have experience with what’s happened to Mia.

“I think the school has to be more vigilant, they need more young people to understand all this social media, all this technology.”

He said that “school is not only for the curricula” but they need to have “clear values” in order to respect one another and have a better society.

Mr Janin added: “It’s very simple, it’s nothing to do with me. Unfortunately, I’m a victim of this failing system.”

Mr Janin said he would not support smart phone bans in schools, but referred to the Online Safety Bill, saying that is “something that is right”.

He added: “We need to learn from our mistakes in order to avoid this happening again.”

Mr Janin said he was “glad” to hear the school has put changes in place.

Statements given by friends of Mia to the Metropolitan Police after her death were read out to the inquest, in which they said Mia was bullied by other pupils at the school, and that their friendship group was nicknamed the “suicide squad” in the months leading up to her death.

They said that one of Mia’s TikToks was shared to a Snapchat group chat run by male pupils at JFS, where they made fun of her.

One child said the boys used the group chat to share nude photos of girls.

Rabbi Howard Cohen, former deputy headteacher at JFS, told the inquest that after Mia’s death there was “some talk around the school” of what he described as “boys-only bravado groups” sharing images of girls, and he was made aware of a boys’ WhatsApp group in which members were rating the “attractiveness” of female pupils.

But there was no reason to believe the groups related to Mia, Rabbi Cohen said.

He told the inquest he held a meeting with members of one of the group chats, who then agreed to disband it.

Mr Janin told the inquest that his daughter asked if she could move school, after coming home on March 11.

The inquest heard that his wife Marisa, who has since died, told Mia she could be home-schooled for the rest of the school year, and that they would look into moving her to a new school after.

Mia then went to bed. Hours later, she was dead.

The area coroner previously said that there was no evidence that any images or videos involving Mia had been shared in the group chat, except for the TikTok.

For mental health support, contact the Samaritans on 116 123, email them at [email protected], or visit samaritans.org.

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