Father criticizes the Metropolitan Police for losing evidence in the investigation of the death of his 14-year-old daughter
A grieving father has criticized the Metropolitan Police after they apologized for losing crucial evidence in an investigation into the death of his 14-year-old daughter.
The force confirmed that it had lost the main SIM card and a phone belonging to Mia Janin, who took her own life after being harassed by students inside and outside her school, her father claims.
Mariano Janin, who revealed last year that his wife Marisa died suddenly of cancer four months later, claims his tragic daughter saw cruel messages on the device the night she died, and turned it over to police where it remained locked.
They don’t care about me or the family. How could they have done this? I trusted them and cooperated with them,’ he told the BBC.
‘This phone was part of the evidence about what happened to my daughter. I was hoping the answers were out and the police told me this was going to be key.
Mia Janin took her own life after being bullied by students inside and outside her school, her father says.
Mariano Janin, who revealed last year that his wife Marisa died suddenly of cancer four months later, claims his tragic daughter saw cruel messages on the device the night she died.
A pre-inquest review hearing, held in March this year, into Mia’s death in March 2021 heard that her parents had raised concerns about bullying with staff at the Jewish Free School in Kenton, northwest of London.
The Year 10 pupil was found dead at her family home in nearby Harrow on March 12, 2021.
She was the third student at her school to take her own life in four years.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan told the broadcaster: “It is totally unacceptable that key evidence has been lost in this case.”
At the hearing it was said that evidence given to the Metropolitan Police after her death by pupils at the school, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had ‘inconsistencies’ and that some of them disputed that Mia was harassed.
Forcibly lost items include a SIM card from his primary phone and a second mobile phone.
The force also revealed that it believed the items disappeared when the investigation team moved to another station.
A Met spokesperson said: “As part of the investigation into Mia’s death, police examined a number of items belonging to her. This included a SIM card from her primary phone and a second mobile phone.
Both the SIM card and the phone were examined by specialists and then placed in the estate shop at Barnet Police Station with the intention of returning them to the family at a later date. All of our investigations related to these two items had been completed at this time.
The forcibly lost items include a SIM card from the Year 10 student’s primary phone and a second mobile phone.
Mia was the third student at the Jewish Free School in Kenton, northwest London (pictured) to take her own life in four years.
‘Unfortunately, we have not been able to locate these items within the store. We believe this may be due to the relocation of the research team to another station, during which time property was also transferred.
“We are very sorry that these items have not yet been located and have directly apologized to Mia’s family for the additional distress this has caused.”
Extensive searches have been carried out, including reviews of all relevant documents, but have so far been unsuccessful. We are continuing our efforts to search for these items.’
At a hearing at Barnet Coroner’s Court in March it was said that evidence given to the Metropolitan Police after his death by pupils at the school, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had ‘inconsistencies’ and that some of them disputed the allegations that Mia was harassed.
Lily Lewis, a lawyer for Mia’s brother, Douglas Stewart, said there was “clear evidentiary value” in calling child witnesses to testify at the inquest to clarify the matter.
He added that one student believed that Mia’s bullying was so severe that it was impossible for teachers at the school not to know about it.
Susan Jones, representing JFS, said the school “accepted that Mia’s experience was that she was being bullied.”
But he argued that child witnesses should not be called to give live testimony in the investigation for security reasons and that their police testimony should instead be read aloud.
Mariano Janin (pictured), who revealed last year that his wife died suddenly of cancer four months later, told the hearing: “We know that she was intimidated.”
Sefton Kwasnik, representing Mr. Janin, said: “The last thing my client wants to do is exacerbate any problems any of the child witnesses may have.”
“I think there would be a common desire to downplay or mitigate that prospect to a minimum.”
Assistant Coroner Tony Murphy said the matter would be decided at a later date before the inquest began.
He added: “The key focus, as I see it, for this investigation is to try to understand as much as anyone can why Mia took the actions that she did on March 12,” he said.
“That implies, in my opinion, what was happening inside and outside of Mia’s school environment in the weeks leading up to the event.
“It seems clear that Mia’s experience of some behavior by JFS students was bullying.”
The coroner ruled that the inquest will seek to determine Mia’s well-being, her interactions with JFS students and staff, the support she received in connection therewith, and what happened in the two days leading up to Mia’s death.
You will also consider the lessons to be learned from his death.
Key moments leading up to her death were said to have included a line for Covid tests and a lesson in design and technology, the last class Mia attended.
The investigation will consider evidence from your mobile phone, social media accounts, GPs and counseling records.
Mia’s mother, Marisa, died four months after her suicide after having an aneurysm and contracting leukemia.
Speaking in July last year, Mr. Janin said he believes her sudden death was due to the stress she was under after Mia’s death.
Pictured: Young Mia is seen in a family photo at the beach
A provisional date for the inquest has been set for Friday the 23rd and Monday the 26th of June.
Mr. Janin attended the hearing in person, along with Met officers Detective Inspector Steele and Detective Sergeant Wallace, who were involved in the police investigation into Mia’s death.
Mr. Kwasnik, Ms. Lewis, Ms. Jones and Mr. Stewart appeared via video link, as did Mr. Stewart’s lawyer Abigail Gowland, JFS director Dr. David Moody, and Naomi Pendleton, a bereavement charity worker who supports Mr. Janin.
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