“I never imagined it would be our last conversation,” mourned Michael Barber, the grieving father, as he struggled to recount the heart-wrenching moments before the devastating discovery. In a perplexing turn of events, 11-year-old Roxy-Mae Barber’s lifeless body was found by her father in her bedroom on May 4, 2022. The harrowing details emerged during an emotionally charged inquest held at Grimsby Town Hall, where the vibrant and kind-hearted schoolgirl’s final moments were pieced together.
Described as “kind, funny, and generous,” Roxy-Mae’s last conversation with her father appeared ordinary, masking the tragic fate that awaited her. It was around 10:30 p.m. when Michael Barber heard a jarring noise, unknowingly disregarding its significance. Little did he know that this seemingly insignificant moment would forever alter the course of their lives.
At approximately 7 a.m. the following morning, as Michael knocked on his daughter’s bedroom door to awaken her for school, he made the heart-stopping discovery. Roxy-Mae’s lifeless body lay before him, shattering his world into irreparable pieces. The inquest, held on June 2, shed light on the devastating events but provided no evidence of suicide, according to Coroner Paul Smith.
While the act that led to Roxy-Mae’s untimely demise was intentional, Coroner Smith emphasized that the final outcome was not intended by the young girl. With a heavy heart, he stated, “It was a dangerous act, and we must remember that we are dealing with the tragic loss of an 11-year-old girl,” underscoring the profound tragedy that has befallen this family. Unable to bear the weight of his grief, Michael Barber has been unable to return to their once joyful home since that fateful day, as he confided to the Mirror.
Roxy-Mae had been living with her father after spending her formative years with her mother. Through a statement, Michael expressed his devastating state of mind, sharing, “I’m devastated and have not been able to go back into the house where I found Roxy since her death and have been staying with my brother. I’ve now sold it and will be moving in with my partner,” reflecting the profound impact of the tragedy on their lives.
In a heartrending tribute during the inquest, Roxy-Mae’s mother, Tracy Woodliffe, fervently asserted, “I do not believe this was suicide, but a tragic accident.” The court heard about Roxy-Mae’s infectious joy, her love for music, and her cherished pet gerbils, Toffee and Caramel. The young girl found solace in playing Fortnite with her friends on PlayStation and engaging with social media platforms like Snapchat and TikTok. In the weeks leading up to her untimely passing, she eagerly anticipated her father’s wedding plans, even taking time to meticulously outline the event in her notebook.
As Michael Barber poured his heart out, he vowed that the memories and love they shared with Roxy-Mae would endure eternally, despite her short time with them. In a tender gesture, he decided to transport her belongings to their new home, ensuring that the “beautiful, kind, funny, and gorgeous” girl would have a room of her own there, forever preserving her essence.
The day preceding her tragic demise seemed like any other, with Roxy-Mae attending and returning from school without any signs of distress. The final conversation between father and daughter transpired on the evening of May 3, a seemingly ordinary exchange laden with an unbearable weight of sorrow.
Though paramedics arrived swiftly after 7:30 a.m., tragically, Roxy-Mae was pronounced dead at 7:35 a.m. Michael Barber, in his statement, shared retrospectively that there were events that, upon reflection, might have offered subtle hints of the unimaginable actions that led to his daughter’s tragic end.
While Crime Scene Investigators and officers scrutinized Roxy-Mae’s social media accounts, their efforts yielded no cause for concern. DC Barden, reflecting on the profound impact of Roxy-Mae’s passing on the wider community, expressed, “The school was as shocked as everyone else,” underscoring the collective devastation and disbelief that has permeated the community.
Coroner Smith, visibly moved, acknowledged the arduous task not only for himself but also for all those present at the inquest. He reassured that the memories of Roxy-Mae, her vibrant spirit, and the profound loss experienced by her loved ones and community would reverberate for years to come, a testament to the enduring impact of a young life extinguished too soon.