WARNING, DISTURBING CONTENT: Semina Halliwell took her own life after an interview with police and her distraught mum has raised concerns about how her daughter’s rape allegation was handled
Image: Liverpool Echo)
A heartbroken mum who raised concerns about how police handled her daughter’s rape allegation has shared a haunting final photo taken days before she took her own life.
Semina Halliwell, 12, died after spending four nights in hospital days after a police interview where she was “made to feel like an inconvenience.”
Her grieving mum Rachel wants everyone to see the harrowing last picture of her little girl taken just days before her death last year, the Liverpool Echo reports.
The Year 7 pupil from Southport, Merseyside, told police she was raped by an older boy who said she had groomed her over Snapchat.
Rachel has now released a photograph of Semina taken in hospital just days before she died, as she raised concerns about how the youngster was treated after coming forward.
The parent said Merseyside Police officers investigating the alleged rape made Semina feel like an ‘inconvenience’ and has complained to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
Rachel reached out to police after Semina broke down and told her about the alleged rape following a severe incident of self-harm.
She says she wants the image released today to act as a warning to others on the devastating impact bullying can have on others.
Rachel said a detective “started talking about all the forms he’d have to fill in and how long it would take him to fill those forms in”.
The mother’s aunt Clare Halliwell says the detective then told Semina: “It’s your word against his and do you really want this hanging over your head for 18 months, because it wouldn’t go to court for 18 months to two years.”
Rachel says she believes police “failed her daughter.” Merseyside Police today said it was “not appropriate” to comment on the issues raised ahead of a planned inquest into Semina’s death from her.
A spokesperson for the force said: “The matter is currently being considered by the Sefton, Knowsley and St Helens coroner and as such it is not appropriate for Merseyside Police to comment on any of the substantive issues raised at this time, as we would not wish to prejudice the coronial investigation. However, we have, and are, co-operating fully with the coroner in this matter.”
A spokesperson for the coroners’ office also said they were unable to comment on this or any case that is under investigation. The spokesperson added: “The date of inquiry will be published in due course.”
Semina’s tragic case was raised at a parliamentary committee on June 23, 2021, when Labor MP Apsana Begum asked then-Education Secretary Gavin Williamson what more could be done to help protect children from sexual harassment and abuse.
Ms Begum said: “I wanted to highlight the case of Semina who was 12 years old who disclosed that she’d been raped, and has committed suicide last week.”
Following her death, Rachel feared Semina’s bullies would “gatecrash” her funeral. Rachel had initially said “everyone is invited” to celebrate Ella’s short life, but she later received some horrifying messages.
Screenshots seen by the publication appeared to show someone who knew Semina telling Rachel they had been told they’d “get battered at the funeral” if they attended. The message continued: “I’m scared to go.”
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Police officers were in attendance at the funeral, which went ahead without incident. But less than three months later, Rachel was left devastated after the grave of her 12-year-old daughter was “trashed” by yobs.
In September, a family friend found Semina’s grave had been “completely desecrated”. Rachel told the ECHO: “It was covered in bricks and rocks and there was dog mess all over it. It was clearly done on purpose.”
At the time, Community Inspector Graham Fisher said the force and the community shared the family’s “shock and revulsion” over the desecration of Semina’s grave.
He said “This is the final resting place of a beloved family member, and I can only imagine how upsetting it must have been for their loved ones to find that the grave had been treated in this way.
“While thankfully no permanent damage has been caused, it will have caused lasting distress to the family.”
Merseyside Police today confirmed no charges or arrests have been made in relation to the attack on Semina’s grave.
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