A TWENTY year-old man has been arrested by police investigating the suicide of a teenage girl who leapt to her death from a Hampshire monument.

Ashli Cook, 15, died after falling from the Sir Eyre Coote monument near Rockbourne, near Fordingbridge, an inquest was told yesterday. 

In her last message to her boyfriend Marcus Webb, 20, she texted: “I’m going to jump off the tower. If we can’t be together I don’t want to be with anyone. Bye.”

The inquest in Winchester was told that Ashli had been in a three-year on-off relationship with Mr Webb.

It started when she was 12 years old and he was 17.

In a statement, police said last night: “Hampshire Constabulary can confirm that a 20 year-old man from the Fordingbridge area has been arrested on suspicion of engaging in sexual activity with a child and possessing indecent images in an investigation related to this death and has been bailed until February pending further enquiries.”

They declined to comment further.

The inquest heard that on September 20, the day before her death, Ashli and Mr Webb had argued about going to the Ringwood Carnival.

She accused him of trying to get close to one of her friends.

The row ended with Ashli leaving Mr Webb’s house in Sandleheath, near Fordingbridge.

Daily Echo:

The Sir Eyre Coote monument near Fordingbridge

In a statement read to the inquest, Mr Webb said he did not take the text message threat seriously as Ashli had threatened to kill herself before.

Later that evening Mr Webb grew concerned and he went to the tower where he discovered her body in the early hours of September 21.

He called the police and ambulance but efforts to revive her failed.

He said: “I feel so guilty and I feel like it was my fault. She told me she was going to kill herself and even told me where. I laughed because I never thought she was going to hurt herself.

“Ashli meant more to me than life itself. I now feel there’s no point being here.”

Her mother, Canasta Blake, did not attend the inquest but in a statement paid tribute to her daughter.

She said: “Ashli was a lovely young girl, unique, different, and quirky. She had her own special dress sense. She would have grown up to be a lovely person.”

On September 19 Ashli had returned home from school and told her mum that she had been told that Mr Webb had been seeing someone else and had cheated on her with six girls. Ashli asked: “Why can’t he love me like I love him?”

Mrs Blake said in the weeks before her death there had been a problem with bullying at school but she did not think it was a big problem and that Ashli was dealing with it.

She said Ashli, a Year 11 student at The Burgate School in Fordingbridge, was “besotted” with Mr Webb and spoke of moving in with him when she was 16.

The inquest also heard that her family did not approve of the relationship as they felt she was controlled by him and because of the age gap.

Mrs Blake said: “Ashli distanced herself from the family and friends. All she wanted to do was be with him.”

She added: “I do not understand why she did this, she had everything to look forward to and often spoke about her future. I think, for her age, she was immature, in her laughing, giggling and making up silly words.”

The inquest heard Ashli was working hard at school and spoke of wanting to be an art therapist or accountant.

Ashli, of Earlswood Drive, Alderholt, near Fordingbridge, had been referred to the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service but had been discharged.

But during the summer family, school and GP concerns had arisen again and she was on a waiting list. Mrs Blake said CAMHS had told her that Ashli was not a priority case.

Dr Eleanor Jaynes, consultant histopathologist at General Hospital said Ashli died of multiple injuries.

There was no alcohol or drugs in her system, said Dr Jaynes.

Senior central Hampshire Coroner Grahame Short recorded that Ashli took her own life.

He added: “She had a boyfriend, Marcus Webb, and I find that she was very much in love with him to a degree perhaps that only a teenager can be.”