Investigation into deaths of Sunderland schoolgirls in care

Sarah Clerkson, 14, who was found hanged in the bedroom of a house party in Spennymoor, County Durham
Sarah Clerkson, 14, who was found hanged in the bedroom of a house party in Spennymoor, County Durham
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COUNCIL bosses are looking into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of two 14-year-old Sunderland schoolgirls who died while in care.

Danielle Formosa, a pupil at St Anthony’s Catholic Girl’s Academy in Sunderland, was found dead at a care home in County Durham, on Tuesday.

Danielle’s death came just weeks after Sarah Clerkson was found hanged at a house party, also in County Durham.

Sarah, originally from Sunderland, had been in the care of a foster family.

The girls were friends with each other on Facebook.

Friends and family of Sarah gathered yesterday to say their final goodbyes to the schoolgirl during her funeral at Holy Trinity Church, in Southwick.

An inquest was yesterday opened and adjourned into the death of Danielle, or Danni, as she was known, at Crook coroner’s office.

Her funeral is due to be held on Saturday, December 28, at St Benet’s RC Church, Monkwearmouth, at 9.30pm.

Today bosses at Sunderland City Council said that, in line with policy, they would be looking into the tragedies. A spokeswoman told the Echo: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic deaths of Sarah Clerkson and Danielle Formosa. Our thoughts and heartfelt sympathies are with the families and friends of the two girls.

“The city council and all safeguarding agencies have a series of policies, procedures and protocols for dealing with all issues and incidents.

“In line with these we are looking into the circumstances surrounding these two tragedies. It would be inappropriate to comment any further before the completion of the inquests.”

A statement from St Anthony’s, where Danielle was a pupil, said: “The whole school community is devastated by news of the death of Danielle. We are holding her family in our thoughts and prayers at this very sad time.”

A spokesman for the Samaritans said: “We are there around the clock every single day of the year, including Christmas Day, for anyone who cannot cope.”

For help, call the Samaritans on 08457 9090 90.