‘She seemed fine’: Dolly’s devastating final email

 

AMY Jayne Everett's parents are still thinking about what they could have done to save their young daughter from the bullies who drove her to her death.

In a heartbreaking interview with A Current Affair, devastated parents Tick and Kate now revealed the hell their daughter - known as Dolly - went through, a chilling email which revealed her tormentors sickening actions, and the unfathomable moment they discovered her lifeless body.

They say the 14-year-old who lived on a serene and remote cattle station in the Northern Territory, was as tough as nails, but also a "happy-go-lucky, carefree crazy-haired little girl".

She was close with her sister Meg and loved life on the ranch, but Tick and Kate wanted better opportunities for their daughters and a chance for them to interact with other children, so they sent them to boarding school for their high school years.

"Living as remote as we were, we thought that was the best option for an education," said Kate.

"We basically did a pros and cons with them about their interests," added Tick. "It had to be affordable, the travel had to be doable."

Dolly Everett's parents said their daughter was as tough as nails. Picture: A Current Affair
Dolly Everett's parents said their daughter was as tough as nails. Picture: A Current Affair

Kate said the pair liked the school - Scots PGC College in Warwick, Queensland - initially, although they were a bit home sick and they didn't like the food.

"Meg fell in love with showing cattle, and Dolly fell in love with sport and she was amazing," she said.

But then the parents heard Dolly was starting to have "issues" in the first term.

WHAT THE BULLIES DID TO DOLLY

"She told me that boys were calling her a slut, she was 12," said Kate. "I don't know whether 12 year olds even know what that means, they shouldn't.

"I used to tell her: 'It will get better, you'll fit in. Everybody's trying to fit in and they're just working out their pecking order. Try not to be mean'."

Appalled by what she was hearing, Kate called the school and asked what they were doing about the issue.

"It was basically just swept under the cover," she claims.

She said she was told it was a "bit of rough and tumble" in the playground and "not a massive issue".

"I said: 'Well I feel like it's causing my daughter grief, so I feel like it is an issue'," Kate said.

"She (Dolly) just said: 'I feel like I'm not fitting in and I'm used to fitting in'."

Kate said one of the boys, in particular, picked on Dolly - calling names and pushing her over.

But, one day, Dolly snapped and "turned around and decked" the bully, but the school suspended her.

"Dolly probably shouldn't have retaliated the way she did, but for Dolly then to become the person in the wrong and the other kid to be the victim ... it doesn't make sense," said Tick.

The bullying seemed to fade away after that. Dolly was getting picked for sports teams and doing really well with her studying.

"But maybe it wasn't going as well, maybe she just put on a brave face and didn't want to tell us anymore about it ... 'cause she'd got in trouble the first time, so I think she thought she'd go with it," said Tick.

Dolly’s death has sparked a anti-bullying campaign. Picture: Supplied.
Dolly’s death has sparked a anti-bullying campaign. Picture: Supplied.

And, when the second year came around, it was clear everything was not OK.

Tick and Kate received a call from the school saying Dolly was in trouble. A boy convinced her to take photographs of herself and send them to him.

"As a parent, you don't know how to deal with that," said Kate.

"She just went from the most enjoyable little girl to someone that did end up in trouble at school there's so much that I found out now, as opposed to then, and it probably would've made the outcome so much different.

"She started to withdraw slowly by the first term, and in her year nine. In that last year, I just think, 'Oh god, she's just changing'. And as a parent, I guess you say, 'This is part of adolescence. Is this who she is?'.

"I think there was a whole bunch of stuff going on that we literally did not know about."

Dolly was suspended again late in year nine, this time for drinking.

"I kept onto the school. I said, 'This is not my daughter. Something is going on, there is a ring of people'," Kate said. "I said, "There are other kids involved'. They told me Dolly was a liar. And I said, 'All kids make mistakes and I believe her. This time I believe her'."

DEVASTATING EMAIL BEFORE DEATH

Shortly after, Dolly sent her parents a email from the school, which showed them just one moment which illustrated the savage abuse her bullies would throw at her.

Kate said Dolly had asked in the message: "How long do I have to stay? Can I please leave sooner?"

"I started to panic because they were ganging up on me and I didn't want to fight so I walked away," the email read. "And one of them started screaming at me calling me a dirty slut, b***h and screaming about how I should kill myself and to go cut some more."

Dolly’s death rocked the NT community she lived in. Picture: News Corp Australia
Dolly’s death rocked the NT community she lived in. Picture: News Corp Australia

Sickened, her parents thought about pulling her out of school and enlisted the help of a counsellor.

But Dolly was adamant that she was going back to the school when she came home.

"She was going to prove that she could do it and that she was tough enough to be Dolly again, I think," said Tick. "She had me convinced that she was right."

But, when the family was preparing a last-minute holiday before the kids went back to school after the summer break, everything changed.

'SHE SEEMED FINE': DOLLY'S LAST DAY

It was a seemingly-normal January day at the cattle station and Dolly even made her signature dish for the whole family.

"She made potato salad, coleslaw and steak, that was her dinner that was a regular," Kate said. "She seemed fine."

They played cards, Dolly won and the girls went to bed at 9pm.

But after half an hour after they went to bed, the horrified parents found Dolly dead.

"There was nothing we could do," said Tick. "It's the most horrible thing you, anybody, any parent ... you just, you should never have to do that."

From their isolated property, Tick and Kate had to wait hours before anyone else could get there.

"You know, being isolated was another battle, you know sort of three and a half hours before anyone else could get there. The longest night of our lives really. You know, she's right there and there's nothing you can do."

"I actually just laid with her for hours," said Kate. "Cuddled up with her for hours and just, I just made a promise to her that, this wouldn't be in vain ... that I was so, so sorry that I hadn't made better decisions.

"There was nothing I could do to save her. I don't know if anyone thinks this is the answer to their problems, it's not. It just gives them to somebody else."

"She had so much to live for," Kate continued.

"I wish she could see herself through my eyes and not through the eyes of the people who made her feel like that."

Her father Tick posted the message on his personal Facebook page shortly after she died, saying: "If we can help other precious lives from being lost and the suffering of so many, then Doll's life will not be wasted."

The Everett family were living happily in the NT outback. Picture: Supplied.
The Everett family were living happily in the NT outback. Picture: Supplied.

The grieving parents have been vocal in trying to raise awareness around cyberbullying since Dolly's death.

Since then, parents across the country have been speaking out about bullying in their communities and some have called for political action to be taken.

One parent has now collected more than 200,000 signatures in an online petition to have anonymous messaging apps, such as Sarahah, banned in Australia.

Dolly's death has led to sustained calls from concerned parents across Australia to tackle the issue of bullying in the country's schools and online.

Parents have also been sharing the heartbreaking stories of what their children have been going through.

In March, the family of a 12-year-old Sunshine Coast boy demanded answers after he attempted suicide twice because of relentless bullying.

He was picked on because of his red hair and freckles. The torment was so bad for the Year 8 student at Gympie State High that his parents even tried to change the colour of his hair.

A mother from the Gold Coast also spoke out last month about her 13-year-old daughter Emily Stick took her own life last month after months of vicious and persistent online bullying. She also revealed how she found out through a text message.

"I got a message that night from Emily saying 'I'm going to kill myself'," she told 9 News. "But I never saw it until it was already too late."

She told the station that her "fun-loving and caring" daughter was subject to physical, verbal and online abuse.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800, or visit kidshelpline.com.au