Bethany Hopkins: Heartache at shock death of popular Sheffield schoolgirl, 13
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Bethany Hopkins, a 13-year-old pupil at Fir Vale School, died at Sheffield Children’s Hospital on Sunday, April 23, 2023, after she was found unresponsive in her bedroom.
At an inquest into her death at Sheffield’s Medico-Legal Centre on September 28, assistant coroner Alexandra Pountney ruled her death as one of 'misadventure', based on a lack of evidence that the young teenager had intended to take her own life.
The pupil, who lived in the Pitsmoor area of Sheffield, had spent the days leading up to her death as normal, and was in the process of making plans to see her best friend the same day she died, the inquest heard.
In a statement read out by Ms Pountney, mum Gemma said Bethany was the youngest of her two sisters, who she was close with.
She was described as a "real daredevil" from a young age, who loved food and being sociable. She had many talents from climbing with her dad to arts and crafts, and she was a member of many clubs and groups including Green Top Circus Centre, the cadets, and the Green Influencers Scheme as part of Endeavour.
It was heard that Bethany had no health concerns and had not been seen by her GP since the age of three.
On April 22, mum Gemma had arranged to catch-up with some friends and left the house at around 4pm. Bethany had told her mum that she was going to have a "chill evening" and was going to take some time to recharge.
It was reported that her sister had heard Bethany singing in the kitchen that afternoon, and she had "seemed OK". She had also posted a video on TikTok of her dancing in her bedroom to upbeat music.
Later that evening, Bethany's sister went to check on her in her room, where she tragically found her unresponsive. She called emergency services and commenced CPR while on the phone to the operator.
Giving evidence, Detective Sergeant Alex Edwards, of South Yorkshire Police, said the force was notified by the ambulance service at 11pm that Bethany had been found unresponsive. She was transported to A&E but was sadly pronounced dead at midnight on April 23.
He said: "(Bethany) was very popular at school, and there was no suggestion of any known issue that she was going through.
"There's no concerns raised about Beth’s mental health or any suggestion she was suffering from depression or illness, and it's unexplainable why Beth carried out this action."
A search of the family home found no suspicious circumstances. There was a list of chores written on a whiteboard in her room, her bed was covered in soft toys, and there were lots of items that Bethany had collected, including shells and rocks.
Concluding misadventure as the cause of death, Ms Pountney said: "This event was unforeseeable and there is no evidence that Bethany intended to take her own life.
"I would like to take the opportunity to once again express my condolences to you and all of Beth’s friends and family."