The father of a 16-year-old schoolgirl who took her own life at a high-profile boarding school has revealed his daughter, who had autism, became ‘hyper-obsessed’ with her very first detention before her death.
Caitlyn Scott-Lee, a talented Year 11 pupil, was found in a wooded area near a £44,000-a-year Wycombe Abbey School playground last Friday night – the day before the dreaded punishment.
Her father Jonathan revealed that his daughter made a heartbreaking final diary entry in which she thanked her friends for their love, wished them well and said goodbye.
In the final memo, seen by The Sunday Times, Caitlyn described running away from a school trip to Eton College as a ‘call for help’.
Written the day before he died, it reportedly read: “I hope this is my last diary entry. I want to kill myself tomorrow.
Grade 11 student Caitlyn Scott-Lee was found in a wooded area near a playground
Jonathan Scott Lee, senior executive at banking giant HSBC, tapped Rishi Sunak to help start a national conversation
Caitlyn’s final diary entry, written in neat cursive, highlights how detention had been playing through her mind during the Easter break.
‘Running away was the best cry for help I could give and you [Wycombe] replied with ‘we would normally punish you but you are already punished’.’
She took her own life the following day, just hours before receiving a two-hour sentence known as ‘headmistress’ detention’.
The teenager, who is due to sit her GCSEs soon, was reprimanded after vodka and a tattoo kit were found in her locker ahead of the school holidays.
Mr Scott-Lee, 41, who has two younger daughters, said: ‘She was mortified to receive detention.
“For some of us, it’s an honor to sit in a room for two hours to work. But Caitlyn seemed hyper-obsessed with the concept of a detention, and it seems she was determined to do whatever she could to avoid it.
Caitlyn was said to have been so upset that she ran away from the choral event at Eton on March 21 and even asked her hostess to have her punishment upgraded to suspension as she dreaded detention so much.
Now Mr Scott-Lee is speaking out about his daughter to raise awareness of the needs of one in three children, who, like his late daughter, are neurodiverse.
He explained that people with autism, including himself and his daughter, “tend to think of the world in binary terms – it can be difficult [for them] distinguish between two extremes.
Caitlyn’s parents say she worked hard to get into top boarding school Wycombe Abbey, which charges a fee of £44,000 a year
Mr Scott-Lee, a senior executive at banking giant HSBC, has tapped Rishi Sunak to help start a national conversation, encouraging high-performing schools like Wycombe to better support neurodiverse students.
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 “autistically gifted” and “has a particular passion for theatre, the arts, music and the environment”.
In a tribute to their daughter on Friday, Caitlyn’s parents said she was “gifted with autism” and “has a particular passion for theatre, the arts, music and the environment”.
They added: “The school community, friends and family mourn his loss, but we are comforted by his personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Caitlyn loved nature, the environment, sustainability and birds. She would have appreciated potted plants rather than cut flowers and support for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
In an email to parents of Caitlyn’s year, known as Upper V, manager Jo Duncan said: “They are a close age group and as you will understand they are very shocked and upset.”
“This is an extremely difficult time for everyone and we will do everything we can to provide the additional pastoral care the girls will need.”
Wycombe Abbey said protecting its pupils was its “highest priority”.
The school has been contacted for comment.
For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit samaritans.org.
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