Teenager who feared the world was about to end
The parents of a teenager who hanged herself because she feared the world would end in 2012 have spoken of their torment – and of how they plan to honour her memory by completing a challenge to raise money for her favourite cause.
Gary and Ingrid Taylor said their sensitive daughter Isabel could not bear the prospect of growing up in a world that was not “simple and perfect”.
The troubled 16-year-old was a committed vegan, a staunch supporter of animal rights and the environment, and had turned to the Buddhist faith as she pursued the compassionate world she sought.
But the impact of leaving school and beginning adult life, coupled with fears that the world would end in 2012 sent her to take her own life, an inquest has heard.
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Isabel had left Corsham School in Wiltshire and begun an animal science and management course at nearby Wiltshire College at Lackham. She was passionate about animals and ran a guinea pig sanctuary with a friend.
But within weeks of starting the course at Lackham, the teenager from Neston, in Wiltshire, was found hanging in her room by her mother, on September 24 last year.
Her father Gary, 51, told the inquest his daughter had talked to them about her fears the world will end. “We were aware of the 2012 issue,” he said. “As you would in conversation around the dinner table, she would mention it. We would take it on board and say we ‘didn’t think that was going to happen, Isabel,’ and try to make light of it and move the conversation onwards.”
Her mother told the coroner: “She talked to us about her beliefs the world was going to end in 2012. We did not believe that.”
After the inquest, which passed a verdict of suicide, her parents spoke of their loss. “We have questioned and searched our hearts to try to find an answer to why Isabel went down this devastating path,” they said.
“She yearned for an uncomplicated and perfect world where every living thing would be valued and at peace.
“But the simple and perfect world she sought, where all living things would be treated with compassion and equality, was never going to materialise. Unfortunately, the future for her in her eyes must have seemed very bleak.”
“Sadly there were too many bad points for her to contend with and the lure to opt out was too compelling. We can only conclude that she wasn't prepared to adjust to adulthood with all the complications, injustice and, for her, unhappiness that came with it,” they added.
Searches of Isabel’s computer at her home in Neston revealed she had looked up queries about how many paracetamols it would take to overdose, as well as the thousands of websites devoted to the conspiracy theories about 2012 seeing the end of the world.
“She would flippantly say ‘oh but it's all going to end next year anyway’ and we would try and laugh it off,” said her father.
“She believed something was going to happen that would change the world, I’m not sure whether she ever fully believed that it was going to end, but she definitely thought something was going to happen.”
“She read articles on all different types of things which could make the world end, she read about 15 to 20 articles over the course of 2011 with her best friend.”
“The most recent one she read was on sun spots and how if they went wrong it could cause a nuclear reaction,” he added.
“Isabel was a fully committed vegan and had very strong views on animal welfare especially animal testing, livestock and dairy farming. She also held concerns for the environment and man's impact on it.
“She yearned for an uncomplicated and perfect world where every living thing would be valued and at peace. In the spring of 2011 she turned to the Buddhist faith and their teachings to search for answers because she could relate in their beliefs and principles,” her parents added.
“It would seem her belief in Buddhism and the possibility of another, better life was strong enough to persuade her that the time was right to move on to what comes next,” her parents added.
The inquest heard how Mrs Taylor, found her daughter hanged in her room at their home at 3.15pm in September last year, after spending much of the night before on the computer.
Mr Taylor added: “We will never understand why she took her life and we will never fully come to terms with it.”
“We miss her greatly. It was a tragic incident, she had such a promising career ahead of herself. The enormous shock of it remains with us and We will never fully come to terms with it.”
“She managed to hide what was going on inside her mind because outwardly the happy, bubbly Isabel we knew and loved so well was what she portrayed to us until the end,” they added.
Isabel leaves her two parents and a sister, Alison, 14.
Assistant deputy Wiltshire Coroner Claire Balsyz, recorded a verdict that Isabel had taken her own life while the balance of her mind was disturbed.
Now, her grief-stricken parents are to embark on a 70-mile walk around the South West Coast path, starting next month, in memory of their daughter and to raise money for the Farm Animal Sanctuary, her favourite charity.