‘Horrible messages about Mia Janin’ on Snapchat group, inquest hears

“Horrible messages” about a teenager who is believed to have killed herself were said to be in a Snapchat group created by boys at her school, an inquest heard.

Mia Janin, a Year 10 pupil at the Jewish Free School (JFS) in Kenton, north-west London, was found dead at her family home in Harrow on March 12 2021.

A Metropolitan Police officer emailed Rabbi Howard Cohen, former deputy headteacher at JFS, on May 10 2021 saying pupils and parents had said “Mia may have been subjected to bullying at school” and boys at the school “had a Snapchat group which has now been deleted because it contained some horrible messages about Mia”.

The officer asked in the email, which was a new development and the inquest at Barnet Coroner’s Court had not been shown previously, if Rabbi Cohen knew anything about the Snapchat group, and also requested other information.

Rabbi Cohen forwarded the email onto a colleague and asked that they shared “everything and anything that you can”.

The colleague sent a reply to the officer which said “we were made aware of a Snapchat group involving certain boys”, before adding “we asked them to show us their phones, we did not see any messages involving Mia”.

But Rabbi Cohen said he could not recall the emails and he had not looked at the pupils’ phones.

He said the school did no internal investigation as the police were involved, and the school “just wanted to assist the police”.

Rabbi Cohen told the inquest initiatives were brought in at JFS to help prevent harm after Mia’s death

He said “anonymous boxes” were brought in and a message put in all emails to parents.

He said: “I specifically remember bringing in anonymous boxes and I specifically remember putting in a message at the end of all emails home.

“Parents felt they didn’t feel they could speak up so I acted on that.”

Asked if the initiatives were in response to the aftermath of Mia’s death, he responded: “Yes,” but he also said the anonymous boxes had “not many if any” concerns raised through that system.

And put to him by his barrister that there was no material coming to his or the school’s attention prior to Mia’s death suggesting she was the victim of bullying, he replied: “We had no knowledge of this at the school.”

Mia’s father, Mariano Janin, has said he believes she was cyber-bullied by other pupils at JFS.

Statements given by friends of Mia to the Metropolitan Police following her death were read out to the inquest on Tuesday.

In the statements, her friends said that Mia was bullied by other pupils at the school, and that their friendship group was nicknamed the “suicide squad” in the months leading up to her death.

They said that one of Mia’s TikToks was shared to a Snapchat group chat run by male pupils at JFS, where they made fun of her.

One child said the boys used the group chat to share nude photos of girls.

But North London area coroner Tony Murphy previously said there was no evidence that any images or videos involving Mia had been shared in the group chat, except for a TikTok video she posted the night before she returned to school.

The inquest continues.

– For mental health support, contact the Samaritans on 116 123, email them at [email protected], or visit samaritans.org.


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