The father of a 16-year-old schoolgirl who took her own life at a top boarding school has revealed that his daughter, who had autism, became ‘hyper-fixated’ on her first-ever detention before her death.
Caitlyn Scott-Lee, a talented Year 11 pupil, was found in a wooded area near a playing field at £44,000-a-year Wycombe Abbey School last Friday night – the day before the dreaded punishment.
Her father Jonathan has revealed that his daughter made a heartbreaking final diary entry in which she thanked her friends for their love, wished them luck and said goodbye.
In the final note, seen by The Sunday Times, Caitlyn described how she had run away from a school trip to Eton College as a ‘cry out for help’.
Written the night before her death, it reportedly read: ‘I hope this is my last diary entry. I want to kill myself tomorrow.’
Caitlyn Scott-Lee, a student in year 11, was found in a wooded area near a playing field
Jonathan Scott Lee, a senior executive at the banking giant HSBC, has called on Rishi Sunak to help him open up a national conversation
Caitlyn’s last journal entry, written in neat cursive, highlights how the detention had been playing on her mind over the Easter break.
‘Running away was the best cry out for help I could give and you [Wycombe] responded with ‘we’d normally punish you but you’re already getting punished’.’
She took her own life the next day, just hours before she had been due to receive a two-hour punishment known as a ‘headmistress’s detention’.
The teenager, who was set to take her GCSEs soon, had been reprimanded after vodka and a tattoo kit had been found in her locker before the school holidays.
Mr Scott-Lee, 41, who has two younger daughters, said: ‘She was mortified to receive a detention.
‘To some of us, it is a badge of honour, sitting in a room for two hours to work. But Caitlyn seemed hyper-fixated on the concept of a detention, and it seems she was determined to do anything she could to avoid it.’
Caitlyn was reportedly so upset that she ran away from the choral event at Eton on March 21, and had even asked her housemistress for her punishment to be upgraded to a suspension as she dreaded the detention so much.
Now Mr Scott-Lee is speaking out about his daughter to raise awareness around the needs of one in three children, who, like his late daughter, are neurodiverse.
He explained that Autistic people, including himself and his daughter, ‘tend to think of the world in binary terms — it can be difficult [for them] to differentiate between two extremes.’
Caitlyn’s parents say she worked hard to get into top boarding school Wycombe Abbey, which charges fees of £44,000-a-year
Mr Scott-Lee, a senior executive at the banking giant HSBC, has called on Rishi Sunak to help open up a national conversation, encouraging high-performing schools like Wycombe to better support neurodiverse pupils.
But the heartbroken father dismissed speculation that Wycombe Abbey being a ‘hothouse’, piling exam pressure on young girls, was an explanation for his daughter’s death.
Mr Scott-Lee said it would be incorrect to suggest this alone was the reason and ‘simplistic’ to ‘parrot the term “mental health”‘.
In a tribute to their daughter on Friday, Caitlyn’s parents said she was ‘gifted with autism’ and ‘had a particular passion for the theatre, arts, music and the environment’.
In a tribute to their daughter on Friday, Caitlyn’s parents said she was ‘gifted with autism’ and ‘had a particular passion for the theatre, arts, music and the environment’
They added: ‘The school community, friends and family are grieving her loss but we are comforted in her personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
‘Caitlyn enjoyed nature, the environment, sustainability and birds. She would have appreciated potted plants over cut flowers, and support for The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.’
In an email to parents in Caitlyn’s year, known as Upper V, headmistress Jo Duncan said: ‘They are a close year group and, as you will understand, they are very shocked and upset.
‘It is an extremely difficult time for everyone and we will do our utmost to provide the additional pastoral care the girls will need.’
Wycombe Abbey has said that safeguarding its pupils is its ‘highest priority’.
The school has been contacted for comment.
For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or go to samaritans.org.