POLICE investigating the disappearance of Ciara Witt failed the check the garage where she was later found dead, an inquest heard.

Dorset Coroner Rachel Griffin yesterday ruled that the “strong” and “independent” 16-year-old, found dead at her home in Kinson on November 5 last year, took her own life.

The court heard Ciara had not been seen or heard from since 11.30am the previous morning, although evidence from her mobile phone put her in the area of her home.

Despite this when police were called that night to reports of a missing person they neglected to check the garage, with one saying she had forgotten to do so after becoming “distracted”.

Ms Griffin said to her: “You searched for approximately 45 minutes. It concerns me that you could forget to search the garage”

Later, the court heard from Detective Chief Inspector Joan Carmichael, who said force training had been updated to emphasise the importance of searching the an entire property.

Ciara was close friends with Jack Gudge, who died following an altercation near Tesco Express in Winton in the early hours of Saturday, July 16, last year, aged 17.

The court heard that Jack had died in her arms.

Ciara was in the care of Bournemouth child and adolescent mental health services after making a suicide attempt in August last year, after which she told physicians she “wanted to be with her friend”. However she was not considered a ‘high risk case’ at the time of her death, just days after Jack’s funeral.

The court also heard how, after Ciara was discovered, police mistakenly left evidence at the scene which was later found by the family, causing them great distress.

Afterwards, DCI Carmichael said: “I would urge any young person experiencing difficult or traumatic times to seek help and support.

“There are a range of charities and organisations that can help, including The Samaritans.

“Please don’t suffer alone. There are people out there who can help you.”

Contact the Samaritans on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org