Hannah Smith was found hanged after receiving abuse on Ask.fm (Facebook)
Hannah Smith was found hanged at her home last AugustFacebook

A teenager who was found hanged after allegedly receiving abuse on social media website ask.fm posted the messages herself, an inquest has heard.

Hannah Smith, 14, was found dead at her home in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, last August.

Her parents believed she killed herself because she had been the victim of cyberbullying on the website, which allows users to answer questions posted anonymously by other people.

At the inquest into her death, Det Sgt Wayne Simmons told Leicester and South Leicestershire coroner Catherine Mason there was no evidence that the 14-year-old was the victim of online bullying. On the "balance of probabilities", he said, she posted the "vile" messages herself.

Through examining Hannah's laptop, police uncovered evidence the teenager posted the abuse messages to herself by tracking her IP addresses.

The controversy surrounding her death led to Ask.fm introducing new safety features to help tackle bullying on the website. Several advertisers, including Vodafone and Specsavers, also cut ties with the Latvia-based company over "deep concerns over cyberbullying".

Earlier in the inquest, Hannah's father, David Smith, told how he believed her daughter had been bullied for some time, adding that her eczema may have been the reason she was targeted.

He said he thought she may have been driven to suicide after being attacked at a party in the months leading up to her death. He said how Hannah's behaviour changed after having "her head smashed against a wall, twice" at the party from a "bubbly, happy" teenger to one who become more secluded.

Mason said: "It was quite clear that when Hannah died it was a huge shock to all who knew and loved her. Understandably there was an immediate searching as to why this had happened.

"So there was this immediate, real and genuine fear that Hannah had been subjected to vile messages on social media.

"Having looked into all matters in relation to social media sites, self-harming and bullying I have not received any evidence that there would have needed to be the involvement of any agency that could necessarily have prevented Hannah taking the action she did.

"The evidence I have was that on the balance of probabilities they would all have been at Hannah's own hand.

"Why she did it, I don't know."

Mason added that while she had been subjected to behaviour that was "not acceptable" in the months prior to her death, neither her family nor the school could have known about her intention to take her own life.

The company previously claimed that 98% of the abusive messages had come from the same IP address as Hannah's. Only four posts originated from different addresses.

The inquest returned a verdict of suicide by hanging.

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or visit www.samaritans.org.