Tributes to Sunderland girl, 14, who died after house party

Floral tributes to Sarah outside house where party took place.
Floral tributes to Sarah outside house where party took place.
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FAMILY and friends today paid tribute to a teenage schoolgirl who died after a house party.

The grandparents of Sarah Clerkson spoke of their sadness after the 14-year-old’s death.

David and Linda Chapman, of Roker, told how the teen had moved schools from Sunderland to Durham about six weeks ago after being fostered.

According to social networking sites, the schoolgirl, originally from Witherwack, had been the victim of bullying.

She was found at an address in Ash Grove, County Durham, on Saturday night and was taken to the University Hospital of North Durham where she later died.

There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances related to Sarah’s death.

Today David and Linda claimed their granddaughter had “turned a corner” in the weeks before she died.

David said: “We saw her a few weeks ago, we went to the MetroCentre and she was bubbling, or in her words ‘buzzing’.

“We thought things were starting to change for her.

“The last month or two she’s been with her new foster parents, everything had been positive.

“However, to begin with there’d been a problem with her introduction into a new school. She was bullied for about a week.

“You know what they’re like when new kids come, but it had all blown over.

“Sarah’s foster mother couldn’t believe it because she was happy and really up.

“It’s just come out of the blue.”

Schoolfriends have set up a Facebook page titled RIP Sarah Clerkson.

Flowers have also been laid at the front door of the house where Sarah was on Saturday night.

A note with one bunch of flowers reads: “Rest in peace, Sarah. Taken too early.”

The teen’s devastated family remain shocked by the tragic loss but say they remember a caring and special girl, who touched the lives of everyone she met.

Linda said: “When she was in junior school there was a girl from Poland came in, and because she had such a caring nature the teacher paired her with Sarah to look after her.

“She was lovely. She had a heart of gold but she had a lot of emotional issues. She just loved everybody.

“My neighbours and friends are as devastated as we are because they thought she was absolutely brilliant.

“She would jump into arguments to look after the underdog and she got into a lot of trouble to break things up at school when she shouldn’t of.

“She brought so much joy into our lives and we’ve had our hearts ripped out by this.

“When they came to tell me she had died, it was just like a nightmare.

“She was beautiful inside and outside.”

A spokeswoman for Durham Police said they were not currently investigating any allegations of bullying in relation to Sarah’s death.

She added: “There are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances and a report has been prepared for the coroner.”

A Sunderland City Council spokesman said: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic event which took place last weekend.

“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with her family and friends at this difficult time.

“The circumstances surrounding this very sad death will be fully looked into at a coroner’s inquest. It would be inappropriate to speculate on what may have led to her death ahead of this, and to risk further upsetting family and friends at what is already a deeply distressing time.”