Teen ordered to delete Facebook accounts after schoolgirl's death

Chelsea O'Byrne, 13, died in August last year in a suspected suicide.
Chelsea O'Byrne, 13, died in August last year in a suspected suicide. Photo credit: Supplied

A teenage girl has been ordered to delete her Facebook accounts after she sent harmful messages to a schoolgirl, who later died in a suspected suicide. 

The teen,16, who has statutory name suppression, put harmful posts on Facebook about Villa Maria College student Chelsea O'Byrne,13, who died in August 2017, Stuff reports.

She also sent Ms O'Byrne messages days before her death.

The coroner is yet to hold an inquest into her death.

The girl appeared at the Christchurch Youth Court on Tuesday to discuss her progress with Judge Jane McMeeken, who ordered her to delete her Facebook accounts. 

The teen, who has been in Oranga Tamariki care, has started 40 hours of community work and must attend drug and alcohol abuse support programmes. 

She is believed to be one of the youngest people to be charged under the Harmful Digital Communications Act, which came into effect in mid-2015, Stuff reports. 

The girl has since apologised to Ms O'Byrne's family - who say they forgive her, Stuff  reports. 

Ms O'Bryne's mother said meeting the teenager was a healing experience.

"It's helped me move forward.

"I just felt sorry for her. All the people there for her were professionals, not her loved ones. It's pretty sad.

"At the end of the day it's given me closure, I wasn't expecting it, but it did. I wasn't expecting to forgive her, but forgiving sets you free."

Ms O'Byrne reportedly suffered from mental health issues and was receiving counselling up to her death.

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