Troubled South Shields teenager fell to death at cliffs while ‘emotionally unstable’, says coroner

Chirelle Calder was just 17 when she died in South Shields.
Chirelle Calder was just 17 when she died in South Shields.

The death of a teenager who fell from cliffs at Marsden was as a result of ‘her own actions’, a coroner has ruled.

Chirelle Calder, 17, suffered unsurvivable injuries during the tragic incident in August 2016.

Chirelle Calder fell from the cliffs at Marsden in August 2016.

Chirelle Calder fell from the cliffs at Marsden in August 2016.

An inquest heard how the teenager had a history of self-harming and was a “very troubled” young person.

It had been thought Chirelle had been turning her life around, but following the conclusion of an inquest into her death Newcastle coroner Karen Dilks returned a narrative verdict.

He said: “Chirelle Jane Calder died due to her own actions whilst suffering from an emotionally unstable personality disorder.”

Ketamine which was found in her system following a post-mortem was due to medical intervention.

The fact that an off-duty officer came to the aid of his colleagues, who were trying to help Chirelle at Marsden Cliffs, is testament to the efforts made to save her life.

Miranda Biddle

An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) was launched after her death.

It found officers from Northumbria Police who responded to a report of a missing young woman, including one officer who was off-duty, had acted appropriately in their attempts to return her home safely.

The report found during the initial contact with Chirelle, it is unlikely the force had sufficient grounds to detain her for a criminal offence or under section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983.

Chirelle was being cared for at Whiteleas Way Children’s Home, in South Shields, having been based at a number of care homes since becoming the subject of a full care order when she was 13.

She had been on a visit to a flat which was part of a supported housing scheme as the authorities begun the process of transitioning her from children’s care to adult care.

Miranda Biddle, IOPC regional director for the North East, said after the hearing: “This was clearly a most upsetting incident for everyone involved, and our thoughts are with Chirelle’s family, those who knew her and those who attempted to help her on the day she died.

“It’s clear from our investigation that Northumbria Police responded promptly to the reports of Chirelle being missing, and she was returned home safely on a number of occasions before she sadly left for a fourth time.

“The fact that an off-duty officer came to the aid of his colleagues, who were trying to help Chirelle at Marsden Cliffs, is testament to the efforts made to save her life.”

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “We were deeply saddened by the death of Chirelle. Our thoughts remain with her family and friends to whom we offer our sincere condolences.”