Desperate boyfriend watched on FaceTime from Hong Kong as his girlfriend, 18, hanged herself at £33,000-a-year Haberdashers’ School for Girls and raised the alarm, inquest hears
- Joy Chan was alone in her room at Haberdashers’ School for Girls in Monmouth
- She was on FaceTime with her boyfriend Jeremy Mak, who was in Hong Kong
- During the call, Mr Mak saw Joy trying to kill herself and he immediately called the school to alert them, an inquest heard
- For help call Samaritans for free on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org
A boyfriend raised the alarm after he watched his girlfriend trying to kill herself on FaceTime at a £33,000-a-year public school, an inquest has heard.
Joy Chan, 18, was alone in her room at Haberdashers’ School for Girls in Monmouth, Wales, while online with her boyfriend Jeremy Mak, who was 6,000 miles away in Hong Kong.
During the FaceTime call, Mr Mak saw Joy trying to kill herself and he immediately called the school to alert them.
Staff members found the A-level pupil unconscious and Joy was rushed to Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny.
Joy Chan, 18, was alone in her room at Haberdashers’ School for Girls in Monmouth, Wales, (pictured) while online with her boyfriend Jeremy Mak, who was 6,000 miles away in Hong Kong
But Joy, described as a ‘ray of sunshine’, died four days later in hospital with her heartbroken parents at her bedside.
She had been suspended from the school after being caught buying alcohol for under-age pupils.
The inquest in Newport heard Joy had boyfriend trouble and was ‘grounded’ after being caught buying the alcohol for younger Chinese pupils.
Emma Butts, assistant house parent at the school, said: ‘I had to dial 999 for a girl who drank too much alcohol.
‘Joy was suspended – it was explained to her that what she did was illegal and had consequences.
‘Basically she was grounded in the boarding house – she was unhappy but she took it maturely.’
During the FaceTime call, Mr Mak saw Joy trying to kill herself and he immediately called the school to alert them
An entry was made in a duty book at the boarding school, which read: ‘Joy is having issues with boyfriends’, the inquest heard.
She had been upset after an ex-boyfriend had tweeted an image of her but there was no evidence it had been distributed to anyone else.
Joy, who was applying to go to university, had also done badly in a mock A-level economics exam and was ‘upset with herself’.
PC Rebecca Hamilton told the hearing in a written statement: ‘Her boyfriend in Hong Kong was desperate after seeing Joy trying to hang herself on FaceTime.’
Joy’s school friend Maria Toma, who has a room opposite her, told the hearing in a written statement: ‘Every time I saw her she was smiling – she had a bubbly personality.
‘But on a few occasions I heard Joy crying in her room, she would be arguing in Chinese and kicking things.
‘She smoked and drank and was considered a bad example and not liked by other Chinese girls at the school.’
Joy, whose Chinese name was Hei Tung Chan, was regarded as a ‘pupil of concern’ with a record of self harm at the school where she had used a knife to cut her legs and held scissors to her own throat.
She filled in a questionnaire on her mental health before she died saying she was overwhelmed by her problems and was ‘unhappy most of the time’.
Joy died at Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny on 9 February last year, four days after she was found unconscious in her room.
Her organs were used in transplant operations,
The 400-year-old Haberdasher’s school, known as Habs, has 600 pupils, with 156 boarders.
The inquest continues.
For help call Samaritans for free on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org