May 08, 2013 12:00AM
MADELEINE Milne was just 13. An adored daughter, sister, talented young artist and lover of the outdoors.
But a tragic and senseless set of circumstances sparked by a bullying incident at school led to the beautiful Sydney teenager taking her own life, within two months.
While her devastated parents Peter and Valery Milne do not solely blame bullying for their only daughter’s death, they believe the anxiety it caused her played a significant role in her fatal decision, 10 days ago.
“We don’t think she meant to take her own life, we think she wanted to give us a scare and just show us how desperate she felt,” Mr Milne said.
Tragically, Maddy is the youngest person in the state known to have taken her own life, according to figures kept by the NSW Child Death Review Team.
Speaking yesterday, just a few days after Maddy was farewelled by hundreds of people at a memorial service, Mr Milne said he hoped his daughter’s death would encourage parents, and schools, to listen to children when they seem troubled.
“I would say to parents that if they see anxiety there in their kids, then work it through with them,” Mr Milne said.
“We all let our busy lives get in the way. The school was busy and didn’t get back to us, we were busy. I’d just say make the time.”
Maddy, a Year 8 student at Asquith Girls’ High on the upper north shore, was just embarking on a life full of promise.
“She was a beautiful young girl. A very talented artist. She liked to draw dragons, I think as a kid she liked them (dragons), so she drew them a lot,” Mr Milne said.
“She loved to ski and sail, she liked snorkelling. But above all, drawing was her thing.”
Earlier this year, Mr Milne said he noticed his daughter start to withdraw from the outside world.
“There was an incident in a maths class in late February. We don’t know the exact circumstances, but I believe she stood up for someone being bullied, and then she became a target too,” he said.
“I was concerned about her, she was very anxious and didn’t even want to leave the house in case she ran into these people from school, so I spoke to her and she confided in me.”
Even now, the Milne’s do not know exactly what form the bullying took or what, if any, threats had been made towards Maddy, but they could see that it was deeply troubling her.
“We couldn’t even get her to go to Westfield at Hornsby, she’d be that worried she’d run into them or someone from school,” Mr Milne said.
“I then rang the school on the first of March, but the school didn’t return my call.”
“I followed it up some time later, because I could see Maddy’s anxiety was getting worse. Eventually I got the form teacher to ring back, and she said action had been taken, but she wasn’t sure what.”
“We were, and we still are, very disappointed with the way the situation was handled,” he said.
Mr Milne said Maddy’s anxiety and troubles at school worsened over the term, but he hoped the recent school holidays and the time away from class might help alleviate her distress.
But Maddy never returned to school. She died on April 25 – Anzac Day – just a few days before classes were due to resume.
“I’m not prepared to say that pushed her, but she certainly wasn’t looking forward to going back to school,” Mr Milne said.
Mr Milne said Maddy’s death was a “senseless loss”.
A memorial held on Saturday to farewell her and celebrate her short life was a true reflection of how much she meant to so many people.
Mr Milne just wishes his precious daughter knew that sooner.
“I don’t think she realised how many friends she actually had,” Mr Milne said.
A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education and Communities said last night:
“The death of this Asquith Girls’ High School student is a tragedy.
“The school and the Department of Education and Communities offer their sympathy to the student’s family and friends for their great loss.
“As the student’s death is being investigated by police it is not appropriate for the school or the department to comment further at this time.”
If you need help, call LIFELINE on 131 114
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
how she lost her heart’s desire = ME = 45 = Things went horribly wrong.
predictions for the year 2013 are at:
discover some of your own numerology for FREE at:
learn numerology from numerologist to the world, Ed Peterson: