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Conclusion in Caitlyn Scott-Lee Inquest

Dominic Kay KC (instructed by Vikki Woodfine and Anna Blythe of DWF) represented Wycombe Abbey School at the inquest into the death of one of its pupils, Caitlyn Scott Lee, who was found having taken her own life in a secluded part of the School site on 21 April 2023. The Inquest heard from a number of members of the School’s staff, including its Headmistress, Caitlyn’s Housemistress, teachers and the School Nurse, each of whom gave evidence that they were unaware of Caitlyn’s intentions. Evidence was given that in an independent review of the School’s safeguarding arrangements in early 2023, the School was found to have “an outstanding safeguarding culture” and that the School’s Council was “committed to safeguarding the pupils’ wellbeing and providing clear strategic leadership in line with the School’s values”.

The Inquest heard that Caitlyn, who had been diagnosed with Autism in 2022, had been seen by a GP during the school holidays in the weeks immediately before her death, and that although she had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression and as a consequence referred to Buckinghamshire CAMHS for further assessment, the GP did not consider her to be at imminent risk of self-harm or suicide.

The Senior Coroner for Buckinghamshire, Mr Crispin Butler, recorded a conclusion of suicide and made findings that “there was no evidence that Caitlyn was going to do what she did” or that there was “anything that would have assisted the School in identifying what was tragically to happen on the evening of 21 April…right up until this late point no-one other than Caitlyn could have or should have known what was going to happen”.

Link to BBC News story

Throughout the Inquest into Caitlyn’s very sad death, the learned Coroner referred the media to guidance published by the Samaritans which highlights the importance of responsible and sensitive reporting of such matters. The guidance can be found here: Samaritans Guidance for Reporting Inquests

Following the Inquest, Papyrus, a UK charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide and the promotion of positive mental health and emotional wellbeing in young people issued an open letter to the UK Government highlighting the increased risk of suicide in autistic people.

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