Coroner to review inquests into deaths of 14-year-old girls in County Durham

Sarah Clerkson and Danielle Formosa, both originally from Sunderland, were found dead at separate incidents in December

Danielle Formosa died at East Farmhouse Children's Home in Consett
Danielle Formosa died at East Farmhouse Children's Home in Consett

A coroner is due to review the progress of two inquests into the deaths of two teenage girls.

County Durham and Darlington coroner Andrew Tweddle is expected to review the cases of Sarah Clerkson, 14, and Danielle Formosa, this morning at his office in Crook.

Sarah Clerkson was found hanging at a house party in Spennymoor on Saturday December 8 of last year.

She was rushed to the University Hospital of North Durham but medics were unable to save her.

Danielle Formosa, who was also 14, was found dead on Tuesday December 17 at East Farmhouse Children’s Home in Consett, County Durham.

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding her death.

Sarah and Danielle were from Sunderland originally and had both spent time in foster care.

They were believed to have been Facebook friends.

Since Danielle’s death, a man has been jailed for sexually abusing her.

Kevin Palmer was caught by a police officer engaging in sexual activity with Danielle Formosa in a tent.

When Danielle told her name and age to the police, Palmer fled but was later arrested at his home address.

Palmer, 40, was originally accused of raping the schoolgirl and appeared at Newcastle Crown Court for trial.

A video statement by Danielle was due to be heard in court, but before a jury was sworn to hear the case, he pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual activity in the presence of Danielle and causing or inciting her to engage in sexual activity.

Palmer, who was 39 at the time, first met the teenager four months earlier and told her he was a 19-year-old law student.

Judge Moreland sentenced Palmer, who is also from Sunderland, to four-and-a-half years in prison.

He will also appear on the sex offences register for life and will be banned indefinitely from having contact with children under 16 without the presence of social services.

Newcastle Crown Court had heard that Danielle had been a vulnerable teenager and she was described a ‘troubled young girl’.

Mr Tweddle opened separate inquests into the deaths of Sarah and Danielle last year.

He is expected to review the progress of both inquiries today before dates can be set for the inquests to be concluded.

To get help from the Samaritans, call 08457 90 90 90.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer