Distraught father 'bitterly let down' as police lose vital evidence following daughter's death

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The distraught father of a London schoolgirl who took her own life after being bullied said he felt bitterly let down after police lost vital evidence including a sim card from her phone.

Mariano Janin claimed his 14-year-old daughter Mia was bullied by pupils in and outside of her school in Kenton, north-west London.

The year 10 pupil was found dead at her family home in nearby Harrow on March 12 2021.

A hearing was told evidence given to the Metropolitan Police after her death by pupils at the school had “inconsistencies” and that some of them disputed that Mia was bullied.

Items lost by the force include a sim card from her main phone and a second mobile handset.

The force also revealed that it believed the items went missing when the investigating team relocated to another station.

Police said items went missing when the investigating team relocated to another station Credit: Family handout

"We started to be told by friends that she was badly bullied at school - late at night she was on social media and we heard she was badly bullied there," Mariano Janin told ITV News London.

"We gave to the Met Police two phones and a laptop.

"My wife was devoted to getting information from police but suddenly we found we were still at square one and lost two years of the golden hours of the investigation.

"From day one we felt the investigation was going nowhere - we feel really unhappy about the whole process," he added.

A pre-inquest review hearing, held in March this year heard her parents had raised concerns over bullying with staff at the Jewish Free School in Kenton, north-west London.

Police said they examined a number of items belonging to Mia and both the sim card and handset were examined by specialists and stored at Barnet Police Station.

"Unfortunately we have been unable to locate these items within the store," police said.

"We believe this may be due to the re-location of the investigating team to another station, during which time property was also transferred.

"We are extremely sorry that these items have not yet been located and have apologised directly to Mia’s family for the added distress this has caused.

"Extensive searches, including reviews of all relevant paperwork, have been carried out but have so far been unsuccessful. We are continuing our efforts to search for these items," a statement added.

Mariano also lost his wife just months after his daughter's suicide, "I lost my life. I lost everything," he said and warned there would be more cases like his daughter's.

He added: "This is a 14-year-old girl, it’s not the only case, I think we have cases like Mia every week in the world.

"It seems police don’t have the capability to deal with this situation."We need an  online safety bill. We need an organisation who can take care of these kids. They are further ahead with the use of technology than us. The internet can be very harmful."

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