‘Much-loved’ teenage girl tragically found in woods after anorexia battle

A teenage girl who suffered from an eating disorder for years tragically took her own life after being found in a wooded area.

Angelika Szafran disappeared from her home on August 10 2021, sparking a major search operation for the 15-year-old.

However, just hours later her body was found by police and this week a judge ruled she died by suicide after years of suffering from depression and self-harming.

The inquest into Angelika’s death heard from medics who tried their very best to help her.

At Doncaster Coroner’s Court on Thursday it was revealed how the teenager suffered from nightmares and had suicidal thoughts.

The 15-year-old's mum Agnieska was too distressed to attend the inquest into her daughter Angelika's death
The 15-year-old’s mum Agnieska was too distressed to attend the inquest into her daughter Angelika’s death

The court heard that Angelika, from Doncaster, lost so much weight at one point that she had to be admitted to Doncaster Royal Infirmary in October 2020. She was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa.

With specialist help, she was eventually discharged back into the community, according to Yorkshire Live.

Registered mental health nurse Wendy Green, a member of the Eating Disorder Team assigned to help her, told assistant coroner Louise Slater that Angelika had twice-weekly sessions at the clinic and at her home.

The coroner asked her: “Did she want to get healthy?”

Green: “That’s a very difficult question. She did want to feel differently but the thought of giving up anorexia was really hard.”

Coroner: “What was the trigger?”

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Green: “There were a lot of things that contributed to Angelika’s state of mind. Traumatic memories and body image. It’s very difficult to pin down one thing.”

Coroner: “What was Angelika’s view of it? Did she know why it started?

Green: “I don’t think she knew.”

Coroner: “Did you think she was fully engaging?”

Green: “Yes. As time went on and we had more understanding of her depression and its symptoms of her. I don’t think she missed any appointments.”

Coroner: “With the benefit of hindsight, when you look back – I can see you are upset – at your involvement, do you think anything could have been done differently?”

Green: “I don’t think anything could have been done differently.”

Sam Gomersall, an eating disorder practitioner, was asked about their relationship.

Coroner: “Can you describe her for me? You seem to have had the best relationship with her.”

Gomersall: “She struggled to talk about her feelings. It took a long time to build up a therapeutic relationship.”

Coroner: “She had stopped talking to her mum and sister in February?”

Gomersall: “Yes. She spoke about self-harm.”

Coroner: “Paulina had seen her with bandages. Are you able to explain?”

Gomersall: “She showed me self-harm on her arms and would sometimes bring me shots of self-harm on her legs.”

Asked about how she presented in July, the month before her death, she replied that she had no thoughts that Angelika was considering ways of ending her own life.

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She was visited by a member of the Intensive Community Support Clinic on August 4 and attended the clinic two days later.

Coroner: “How did she appear then?”

Gomersall: “She spoke quite openly. I asked her about her suicidal thoughts about her. She said she would not know how to end her own life.”

Coroner: “She seemed to think the world of her cat?”

Gomersall: “She talked about it a lot and found it a source of comfort.”

Summing up, the coroner said: “With help, she was discharged into community care.

“She was seen regularly by the practitioners within the team and from her weight management team seemed to be doing relatively well.

“In February 2021, there was a minor disagreement regarding food and at this point, she stopped speaking to her family.

“It was noted that she had stopped coming out of her room and she had started self-harming.”

On the night before her death, she said there were no concerns that evening and she came downstairs.

She was captured on CCTV at midnight. Her phone de ella was last used at 1am on August 10. South Yorkshire Police discovered a note.

She concluded that Angelika had taken her own life.

Her mum Agnieska was too distressed to attend the hearing.

Turning to her sister Paulina, the coroner said: “It’s clear that she was a much-loved teenager and will be very sadly missed by her family who always provided love and support to her.

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“I don’t think there’s anyone who could have done any more than you did. You should be very proud of your actions. There was nothing more that you could have done.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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