Phoebe Connop Suicide: Teenager Shares ‘Racist’ Photo On Instagram, Hangs Self Over Fear Of Online Backlash

Phoebe Connop, a teenage gymnast from Halesowen, West Midlands, located in the UK, committed suicide last month after she posted a photo she feared would be branded “racist” on Instagram.

According to The Telegraph, Connop, 16, shared a photo with a private group of friends on Instagram, but the photo was later made public. In the edited photo, Phoebe can be seen with darkened skin and a scarf around her head. Along with the image, Connop wrote that this is what she would have to look like to get approval from her Asian boyfriend’s parents. The photo was only meant for a select group of people to see, but it started making the rounds online, and Phoebe feared the backlash she would receive.


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On July 7, just a couple days after Connop sent the picture, she had been working with her father, Laurence Connop, 53, to save up money for summer vacation. After she said she wasn’t feeling well, her father drove her home. When he returned home later that day, he tragically discovered Phoebe hanging in their house.

“From speaking to her friends in the weeks following her death, we discovered that the image had circulated further than she wanted it to,” Detective Sergeant Katherine Tomkins, from West Midlands Police, said at an inquest held on Friday.

She added: “There had been some negative reaction and she confided in her friend, who did take the image down at her request, that she was scared of what the reaction might be from the Asian community in her area.”

Lawrence also spoke at the inquest, revealing that his daughter was a “lovely girl who would never want to cause offence to anyone.”

“She had shown me no indication in the weeks leading up to her death that there was anything wrong, let alone anything that would lead her to do this,” Lawrence said, according to The Sun.

Black Country Coroner Zafar Siddique offered his condolences to Phoebe’s father and the rest of her family.

“This is an absolute tragedy for the family and I can’t imagine the pain and distress they are going through, as well as her friends,” he said. “There is nothing I can say to help with the pain but I offer my sincere condolences.”

Phoebe was an award-winning gymnast, who had aspirations of becoming a midwife before she committed suicide. Following her death, her family found a “wish list” Phoebe had written that stated she wanted to study at sixth form.

Teenager from Halesowen commits suicide
Phoebe Connop, 26, from Halesowen, commits suicide after sharing photo on Instagram that could be deemed "racist." [Photo via Google Maps]

“We in the Windsor community are deeply saddened by this sudden and tragic loss,” Stephen Lanckham, the head teacher at Windsor High School in Halesowen, said. “We will remember Phoebe as a confident, warm and caring girl that was heavily involved in all aspects of school life.”

He added, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Phoebe’s parents, family and close friends at this difficult time and we will offer all the support and care we can to help. Phoebe will be lovingly remembered by all who had the pleasure of knowing her.”

An area in the school’s spiritual garden has been chosen by Phoebe’s parents to be dedicated to her memory. The area will be a place where students can come to reflect or pray.

[Image via jannoon028 / Shutterstock]