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Website delays review publication

A website linked to the death of a teenage girl has said it will delay announcing its safety review findings as a mark of respect to the schoolgirl because it was planned on the same day as her funeral.

Latvian-based engaged a team of lawyers to carry out an audit of its site and safety features after the death of 14-year-old Hannah Smith two weeks ago. It is alleged she died after suffering months of abuse from online trolls on the question-and-answer website where members can be anonymous. planned to release its plan of action on Friday afternoon after receiving lawyers' recommendations but said they would delay until next week.

In a statement released by founders Mark and Ilja Terebin, the company said: "It has come to our attention today that tomorrow, Friday 16th August, the funeral of Hannah Smith is being held. This afternoon we were contacted by a journalist in the UK on behalf of Hannah's father.

"Upon offering to delay our announcement, Mr Smith expressed his view that it was our decision whether to continue to release our review findings and the changes we plan to make to improve the safety of our site. We have decided, as a mark of respect to Hannah, her family and their grief, that we will delay any announcement until Monday 19th August."

Hannah was found hanged in her bedroom at the family home in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, by her sister. She had allegedly been bullied on the website but it has also been reported she sent herself the majority of the abusive messages. Her father, Dave, said those claims had not been proved and even if they were true still meant that there were a small percentage of people who had written his daughter abusive messages and had not been named. was forced to defend its site and stated "we do not condone bullying of any kind" after it was criticised for not doing enough to prevent abuse. It engaged law firm Mishcon de Reya to carry out a full and independent audit of the website and safety features to see what changes could be made.

Mr Smith has called for an immediate change in the law to protect vulnerable youngsters. He will bury his daughter on Friday, and demanded legislation be put in place to stop more tragedies from happening. He told ITV News: "Something needs to change and the law needs to change, and it doesn't need to change in six months, it needs to change now."

A service for Hannah is to take place at St Mary's Church in Lutterworth, and her father has asked that mourners do not wear black, but brightly coloured clothes. Hundreds of people are expected to attend, and it is hoped that the service will celebrate the teenager's life and what people have described as a bubbly and happy personality.

Mr Smith is reported to have asked her friends to wear onesies to the funeral because his daughter loved them, and would be smiling knowing they were wearing them.


From Belfast Telegraph