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VICTIM JESSICA'S DIARY OF DESPAIR.

Byline: STEVE McCOMISH

A PRIMARY school pupil wrote about her bullying hell in a "diary of despair".

Jessica O'Connell, who is only nine, kept a daily log of the horrendous experiences that drove her to the brink of suicide.

She was tormented for almost two years by a girl in her class who physically and verbally attacked her. One of her heart-breaking dairy entries read: "To mummy. I wish I was dead so I don't have to suffer anymore pain xxx. I love you."

Mum Sarah, 33, said: "She used to cry and scream at me not to leave her at school. She started harming herself, making herself sick, so she didn't have to go."

Sarah and husband Graham, 36, told teachers at St Wilfred Roman Catholic School in Ripon, North Yorks, about their daughter's hell, but were appalled when the bully was suspended for only one day.

They have decided to keep Jessica at home until the bully is excluded.

Sarah said: "Jessica has been punched, kicked through the back of her chair and pushed over. The bully even threatened to drown her during a swimming lesson.

"I'd like to ask the school, what does a pupil have to do to be excluded? Does she have to kill someone?" The school has suggested the alleged bully be moved up a year, while Jessica remains in her class.

Said Graham: "Why should the bully get an education while my daughter suffers?"

The family is considering moving to another area.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council would not discuss individual cases but said the council took bullying seriously.

CAPTION(S):

TORMENTED: Jessica was living in fear of school bully; SO SAD: The diary
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 25, 2003
Words:283
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