FAMILY and friends of a popular Truro schoolgirl have paid tribute to the "bright and hardworking" teenager found hanged at her family home earlier this year.
Penair School pupil Courtney Gwynn, 14, researched suicide methods on the internet before taking her own life at her home in Carharrack, Redruth on January 6, an inquest heard last week.
Her devastated family said they "did not see it coming", describing Courtney as a regular teenager with a good circle of friends.
But she was concealing from them a growing sense of angst, her fears of failing at school and concerns of growing up.
Her mother Agnes told the hearing that she found Courtney, who wanted to become an actress or singer, in her bedroom at 6.15am when she went to wake her up.
She said: "Courtney was an intellectual and bright Year 10 pupil who loved travelling, languages and art.
"I did not see this coming. It was so out of the blue and tragic. She must have been so switched off and somewhere else completely."
An investigation into her death revealed books containing handwritten verses and prose which had a "negative tone towards life".
One of the writings, which Detective Constable Jonathan Viant considered as being a suicide note, read: "In a few days you might see me in the newspapers or in a TV ad, don't be sad, I just wanted to take my own life."
Following her inquest the family said: "Our family is coming to terms with the loss of its youngest member – our daughter, sister and granddaughter.
"She was a regular teenager with a good circle of friends and was doing well at school. She gave absolutely no reason for anyone to believe that such devastating tragedy was about to unfold.
"This is the dark nature of mental health issues and suicidal thoughts – they are often invisible. Only by talking will these issues come to light."
Her family has since set up the Realize Trust, which raises awareness of teenage suicides.
Penair head teacher Barbara Vann said: "She was a bright and hardworking student who appeared to be enjoying her life inside and outside Penair School.
"She was well liked by her friends and her grades showed that she was likely to achieve all of her predicted targets.
"Courtney was a lively teenager with all the usual angst. We now know she worried about her social life, her school work and the state of the world. Her loss has left a gap in the school."
Coroner Dr Emma Carlyon returned a verdict that Courtney took her own life. She said: "I found that the set-up, internet searches and her interest in suicides makes me sure that she died from a deliberate act and that she killed herself."