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RAPE GIRL'S OVERDOSE AS ACCUSED GOES FREE.

Byline: HELEN COOK

A TEENAGE model died from an overdose after seeing the man she had accused of raping her walk free.

Lisa Burgess, 19, claimed she was attacked in her own home by a man she knew.

But the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to press charges.

Yesterday a coroner was told that Lisa suffered from terrifying flashbacks and nightmares and felt let down by the legal system.

Three months after her ordeal she was found dead in her flat after taking an overdose of painkillers.

Lisa's father, Christopher Burgess, told the inquest, said: "Hearing they were not going to press charges was the straw that broke the camel's back for Lisa. She could not cope."

Her mother Mary, 49, added: "She phoned me in tears saying 'They are calling me a liar. Why don't they believe me, mum?' She felt no one would ever believe her again."

The couple, who also have a son, Sam, 15, told how Lisa's death had "ripped the family apart". Mary added: "She was a victim, she paid with her life." Lisa, who won a modelling competition in a teen magazine earlier this year, was found dead at her flat in Thatcham, Berks, in August.

She had taken a lethal dose of Codeine tablets. Her parents said Lisa, who they nicknamed Woo, changed dramatically after the rape and was scared to leave her flat.

Mrs Burgess, who lives in Newbury, told Berkshire coroner Peter Bedford: "I think she was just very tired, very fed up.

"She thought the system had let her down and people had let her down.I know my daughter would not take her own life - she loved her family too much. It was possibly a cry for help. After the attack she just deteriorated. She said it had scarred her for life and I think it turned her state of mind.

"She was very, very down." The inquest was told that two weeks after the rape, Lisa was attacked with an iron bar and spent a week in hospital.

Lisa, who was diabetic and had endured life-long kidney problems, suffered so much dama__ to one kidney that surgeons had to remove it. She also suffered a four-inch gash to her head and a twisted spine.

Lisa, who worked as a chef, was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and prescribed anti- depressants. On August 5 she took the fatal overdose.

Verdict: Open verdict.

CAPTION(S):

VICTIM: Model Lisa Burgess; HOME: Lisa Burgess's flat
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 8, 2004
Words:413
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