Tees

Party-death girl Sarah Clerkson 'in drinking game'

Crook Civic Centre Image copyright Google
Image caption The inquest was held at Crook Civic Centre

A 14-year-old girl in foster care who was found hanged at a house party was "very drunk" after taking part in a drinking game, an inquest heard.

Sarah Clerkson, of Sunderland, who was staying with a County Durham family, went to sleep after she was sick.

Party-goers found her an hour later in a bedroom.

Coroner Andrew Tweddle said the only conclusion was an "open one" as there was no indication that she intended to kill herself.

'No bullying'

The tragedy happened at a party in Spennymoor in December 2013.

Det Insp Wendy Tinkler said that Sarah had "drunk quite a considerable amount of whisky and Disaronno (an amaretto-flavoured liqueur)."

She agreed that there was no indication of "unpleasantness" or bullying at the party.

Sarah's foster father, Andrew Young, said she had been living with them since October 2013 after a "troubled time".

He added there were issues at school where there were "bad influences" and she had been exposed to drink and drugs previously.

Although she had mentioned self-harm in the past in notepads and books, there was no mention of suicide, Mr Tweddle said.

Because of her drunkenness, her age and a lack of a note, he said he could not be certain that Sarah intended to kill herself.

The teenager's family were aware of the inquest but chose not to attend, he added.

A review by Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board will be published in the coming weeks.

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