Inquest into Molly Russell’s death delayed as coroner insists he has not forgotten 'grieving family'

Molly Russell is known to have viewed material linked to anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide before her death in November 2017 Credit: PA Media

The inquest into the death of 14-year-old Molly Russell has been delayed by legal argument as the coroner insisted he had not forgotten her “grieving family”.

The case was adjourned with discussions between lawyers representing Molly’s relatives, social media company Meta, social media platform Pinterest and the media due to resume on Wednesday.

Coroner Andrew Walker at North London Coroner’s Court said on Tuesday: “It’s very difficult for the family in inquests such as this where there are many legal matters to discuss.

“At the heart of every inquest lies a grieving family and that is something I have not forgotten despite all the work that has been done by counsel today to try and move this case further forward.”

Molly's parents Ian and Janet Russell arriving at Barnet Coroner's Court for the first day of the inquest into their daughter's death Credit: PA

Molly, from Harrow, north-west London, ended her life in November 2017 after viewing graphic imagery online.

The teenager is known to have viewed material linked to anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide before ending her life, prompting her family to campaign for better internet safety.

Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, and Pinterest, are due to give evidence in the inquest.

The inquiry will examine whether algorithms used by the social media firms to keep users hooked contributed to her death.

Previous hearings have heard how the 14-year-old had engaged with tens of thousands of social media posts in the six months before she died, including content which “raised concerns”.

Molly Russell pictured in 2015 Credit: Family handout/PA

The inquest into her death was delayed in March after thousands of pages of new evidence about her internet history were submitted.

A pre-inquest review in September 2020 heard how a huge volume of “pretty dreadful” Instagram posts had been disclosed to the investigation.

The court previously heard how on Twitter, Molly tweeted or retweeted 460 times, liked 4,100 tweets, was following 116 accounts and had 42 followers.

She was a much more active user of Pinterest, with more than 15,000 engagements, including 3,000 saves, in the last six months of her life.

Molly did not have a Facebook profile.

But in the last six months of her life she was engaging with Instagram posts about 130 times a day on average.

This included 3,500 shares during that timeframe, as well as 11,000 likes and 5,000 saves.

Coroner Andrew Walker previously challenged social media companies to “help make the internet a safer place”, before adding “the earlier the parties turn their minds to that matter, the better solutions we may have in due course”.

Since his daughter’s death, Molly’s father Ian Russell has been a vocal campaigner for reform of social media platforms, and set up the Molly Rose Foundation in her memory.

The inquest could last up to two weeks.

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