Mia Janin's father says students were told to delete texts after daughter killed herself after cyber-bullying

Mia Janin's father says students were told to delete texts after daughter killed herself after cyber-bullying

The father of a 14-year-old girl who took her own life after being bullied has claimed her school told students to delete messages while police investigated.

Mia Janin was found dead in her family home in Kenton, north London, in March 2021 after being picked on by male peers at her Jewish Free School in Harrow.

Her dad Mariano Janin has called for greater legal protections, after his daughter was hounded online, telling Laura Kuenssberg that cyber bullying should be a crime.

Mia Janin was a promising student at the Jewish Free School (PA)
Mia Janin was a promising student at the Jewish Free School (PA)

He said in the same interview on Sunday: “They organised in the school an assembly and asked the kids to delete the messages.

“My common sense says that if you have a police investigation and you have this potential group, you should notify the police - maybe this group of kids, they have information on their phone, but that's what they did.”

Last week, a coroner expressed fears about a culture of bullying within the school - at which Mia was a year 10 student.

She had been described as a “brilliant student held in high regard by teachers” but was also said to be the victim of cruel bullying online - as her inquest heard.

Mia and Marisa Janin both died in 2021 (PA)
Mia and Marisa Janin both died in 2021 (PA)

Mia was last seen alive around 10pm on March 11, 2021, when she said goodnight to her parents in their family home.

Her mother Marisa, who found the girl’s body and suicide note, sadly also died later the same year, leaving Mr Janin alone in his grief.

The family has released an audio message that Mia sent to a friend. She said: “Tomorrow's going to be a rough day, I'm taking deep breaths in and out. I'm currently mentally preparing myself to get bullied tomorrow.”

Mr Janin told Kuenssberg: “I didn't know about this online world. They say that she was bullied, we found a screenshot saying that she was prepared to be badly bullied, naming the kids that were bullying her.”

The presenter said that the Metropolitan Police had also lost Mia’s phone “for a long time” but was now working on returning it.

In the months after Mia’s death, the school was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted and the headteacher Rachel Fink left. It is now rated ‘good’ after a follow-up in 2022.

Mariano Janin, father of Mia Janin (PA)
Mariano Janin, father of Mia Janin (PA)

After the inquest, the school’s new headteacher David Moody said: “Whilst I was not in post at the time of Mia's death, I can only promise that we will continue to do everything we can to embed all of the changes that have been put in place over the last three years.

“Mia remains a hugely missed member of our school community and our thoughts continue to be with the family.”

Scotland Yard has confirmed that the sim card for Mia’s phone was lost but has since been found and a return has been organised.

Detective superintendent Adam Rowland, from the north west policing team, said: “The impact of Mia’s death is acutely felt by all who knew her, particularly her family and close friends. Their loss is unimaginable and our thoughts remain with them.

“After Mia died in March 2021, we looked carefully at the circumstances leading to her death in order to provide a full and thorough account to the Coroner.

“This included speaking to her family, friends and pupils and staff at her school, as well as in-depth analysis of her phone and use of social media.

“All of the evidence gathered during this investigation was passed to the Coroner to consider as part of the inquest.”

The school has been contacted to address Mr Janin’s allegation about the students being asked to delete messages.

A statement from the school read: “After Mia's tragic death, all information held by the school was handed to the Metropolitan Police to support their investigation.

“Throughout the investigation, the school has given open access to all of its systems. Our thoughts remain, as they have always been, with the family.”

For mental health support, contact the Samaritans on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit samaritans.org.