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Coroner has ‘not forgotten’ Molly Russell’s family as quest for answers delayed

T

he inquest into the death of teenager Molly Russell has been delayed by legal argument as a coroner insisted he had not forgotten her “grieving” family.

The inquest into the 14-year-old’s death was due to begin at North London Coroner’s Court in Barnet on Tuesday – almost five years after she ended her life.

Molly, from Harrow, north-west London, is known to have viewed material linked to anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide before her death in November 2017, prompting her family to campaign for better internet safety.

Previous hearings have heard how the 14-year-old had engaged with tens of thousands of social media posts in the six months before she died, including content which “raised concerns”.

Molly’s father was due to give a pen portrait of his daughter on Tuesday, but legal argument concerning the media’s access to documents in the inquest postponed proceedings until Wednesday.

Coroner Andrew Walker raised concerns that the publishing of certain social media posts accessed by the teenager before her death could have a negative effect on their original author.

“It’s that one issue of ensuring that if there is material, that might affect the author… we deal with it in a sensitive way,” he said.

Molly Russell (Family handout/PA)

/ PA Media

Addressing the delays at the end of the day’s hearing, the coroner said: “It’s very difficult for the family in inquests such as this where there are many legal matters to discuss.

“At the heart of every inquest lies a grieving family and that is something I have not forgotten despite all the work that has been done by counsel today to try and move this case further forward.”

The court previously heard how on Twitter, Molly tweeted or retweeted 460 times, liked 4,100 tweets, was following 116 accounts and had 42 followers.

She was a much more active user of Pinterest, with more than 15,000 engagements, including 3,000 saves, in the last six months of her life.

Molly did not have a Facebook profile.

But in the last six months of her life, she was engaging with Instagram posts about 130 times a day on average.

This included 3,500 shares during that time, as well as 11,000 likes and 5,000 saves.

Discussions between lawyers representing Molly’s relatives, social media giants Meta and Pinterest, and the media are due to resume on Wednesday.

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