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Coronial inquest hears 15yo girl in NSW state care 'raped', 'probably involved in prostitution'.

By Lucy Carter

A 15-year-old girl in New South Wales state care was “used and abused by predatory adults” who involved her in “criminal activities, drug use and probably prostitution”, a coronial inquest into her death has heard.

The coronial inquest in Sydney, before Deputy State Coroner Derek Lee, is investigating the death of a teenage girl, identified only as MK.

She died in The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in April 2014 from the effects of multiple drug toxicity, after overdosing on a combination of cannabis, ice and heroin.

In her opening address counsel assisting Donna Ward outlined MK’s “sad childhood history”.

“In an ideal world, children are protected and nurtured within the family and home is a place of security and stability,” Ms Ward said.

“But that wasn’t the case for MK and her younger twin brothers.”

Child protection concerns about MK were first raised just months after she was born, and she and her brothers were removed from their parents when she was 12 months old and they were one month old.

Girl could ‘light up a room’

MK was allegedly raped by two male carers at a youth refuge in Sydney when she was 14, and she died weeks before she was due to testify against one of them.

Family and Community Services Minister Brad Hazzard last week said he was extremely concerned that a youth worker had not faced court over allegations he repeatedly raped the teenager.

The inquest also heard from a youth worker who cried as he said the girl could “light up a room” when she was happy.

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The man, who cannot be named, said MK was an inspiring person.

He said that the youth home he worked at, where MK lived for the last year of her life, struggled to stop the children in care from using drugs.

He also alleged that the centre had trouble preventing adult males from sneaking into the facility at night.

‘Anger doesn’t help understand what went wrong’

Ms Ward outlined how attempts to place the three children with their mother, their father and extended family all failed and they were ultimately placed in state care.

“Each of these placements came at an emotional cost for MK,” she said.

“Evidence suggests that other predatory adults used and abused MK for their own ends, involving her in criminal activity, drug use and probably prostitution.

“MK’s capacity to trust other people had been so damaged that she came to find it difficult to trust anyone.”

The court heard the autopsy of MK found evidence of self-harm, including the words “I hate feelings” cut into her leg.

“When a 15-year-old dies in such circumstances, it is very easy to be angry at all the things and all the people who let her down and brought her to such a sad end.”

“But the anger doesn’t help understand what went wrong and how things might change to try and stop other children like MK from dying, that is the focus of this inquest.”

The inquest is expected to last a week.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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Tags: children , current-affairs , women
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