Molly Russell death: police 'likely' to access teenager's phone data

Fourteen-year-old viewed harmful content online before killing herself in 2017

Police have said it is “highly likely” they will be able to access data on devices used by Molly Russell, who killed herself aged 14 after viewing harmful content online, a coroner’s court has heard.

Jessica Elliott, representing Molly’s family, told a pre-inquest review at Barnet coroner’s court: “The family wish to express their gratitude both to the court and the police in this regard. It is welcome news that at least the possibility has increased with a view to this data.”

Molly, from Harrow in north-west London, viewed content on social media linked to anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide before killing herself in November 2017.

Letters of request were due to be sent to media companies asking for help, but before this happened police said they might be able to make a breakthrough. It is believed that investigators are trying to unlock an iPhone and an iPod touch.

In terms of the next steps in the preparation for the full inquest, Elliott said: “Everything rather hangs on the inquiries that the police are making.”

The senior coroner, Andrew Walker, said he would wait to be updated before setting the next date for the proceedings. Molly’s father, Ian Russell, sat quietly in court during the brief hearing.

This year Instagram announced it would ban graphic self-harm images as part of a series of changes in response to Molly’s death. Critics said the move was long overdue.

The chief executive of the NSPCC, Peter Wanless, said in February: “It should never have taken the death of Molly Russell for Instagram to act. Over the last decade, social networks have proven over and over that they won’t do enough.”


Sarah Marsh

The GuardianTramp

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