Tory activist, 21, killed herself after quitting party due to 'bullying'

A passionate young Conservative campaigner who said she left the party because of bullying later took her own life, an inquest has found.

Jade Smith, 21, became well-known after campaigning for the Tory party and talking about her ‘I love Boris Johnson’ leg tattoo on the BBC’s The Mighty Redcar programme in 2018.

She caught the attention of the production team after writing an article titled ‘Criminals Do Not Define My Home Town’ for the Huffington Post.

Jade, from Redcar in North Yorkshire, gave up her membership with the party in 2016, claiming she had been ‘threatened, victimised and harassed’ by senior officials. In a letter to the party’s disciplinary committee, she alleged intimidation and threats had left her stressed and unable to sleep.

Jade’s body was found by police in Saltburn, Teesside, in September last year, after a report of concern for her welfare.

In tweets scheduled to be published days after she died, Jade claimed friends feared being raped or sexually abused if they attended Tory party conferences. 

In an interview with The Mirror sometime after leaving the party, Jade said that she was unsure her allegations of bullying had ever been properly investigated.

She said: ‘I completely flunked my exams because of the state I was in.

‘If the Conservatives wish to attract more young people they really have to start looking into allegations like mine seriously.’ 

Before her death Jade drafted a note which she had set to be published on Twitter in a series of tweets days later. In the tweets, she called on the Conservatives to combat bullying within the party.

She wrote: ‘I’ve always received abuse for being a Tory. But the abuse we receive from each other and the older people in our associations is what takes it too far. 

‘We shouldn’t have to put up with the bullying from each other. We shouldn’t have to be worried that our friends are going to be raped at conference or at the very least sexually assaulted. 

‘We shouldn’t have to put up with creepy weird old men maturating over us or grabbing us to go and chat to their friends and try to take us home at the end of the night. Theres a reason we don’t feel safe at conference (sic).’

Jade did not suggest bullying within the Conservative party was the reason for her death.

An inquest at Teesside Coroner’s Court heard how Jade had previously spoken of taking her own life and told her boyfriend she would be dead ‘this time next year’.

It was said that Jade had experienced problems while working as a carer in the weeks leading up to her death and had previously struggled with drugs. A toxicology report showed that she had significant levels of alcohol in her system at the time of her death.

A police report concluded it was ‘a tragic pre-planned suicide with no criminal element’. Assistant coroner for Teesside Jo Wharton said she was satisfied that Jade intended to take her own life and recorded a verdict of suicide.

Paying tribute to his girlfriend, Chris Cassidy said: ‘Jade was fiery and formidable – she was passionate about politics and loved her local area of Redcar.

‘She’d excitedly point out the steelworks and could talk for hours about her hometown.’

Jade was described as a loyal friend, as well as a popular Rainbows and Brownies leader, and the coroner’s court heard that she ‘lit up a room just by walking into it’. 

Jade’s best friend, Paige Beadle, previously said: ‘When she got laughing, she had one of those laughs that was contagious. 

‘Words can’t describe how devastated I am to lose her.’

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