A schoolgirl who donated life-saving bone marrow to her younger sister died four years later after accidentally overdosing on tablets in a misguided attempt to grab attention, an inquest heard.

Tragic 15-year-old Elaine Swift had endured years of domestic heartache and trauma culminating in the bone marrow donation which left her "emotionally vulnerable" and prone to fantasy.

Donating the bone marrow was one of a number of traumatic incidents in her life which could have led to her death last November, said Hartlepool Coroner Malcolm Donnelly.

The schoolgirl, who was 12 when she gave bone marrow to sister Christine, then aged five, died from multi-organ failure due to liver failure caused by the overdose of paracetamol.

The inquest heard that Elaine had been on an emotional roller-coaster.

Her six-month-old brother died; she was taken into care while the family tried to cope; she was then reunited with them and uprooted from her Scottish home to live in England; her grandmother died and her father had three heart attacks.

The coroner said he believed Elaine had not intended to kill herself but had taken the tablets to grab attention.

Mr Donnelly told her parents, Bernard, 45, and Fiona, 38, of Lancaster Road, Hartlepool, that Elaine knew she received attention from teachers when she told elaborate tales and that the overdose incident would have attracted similar attention.

He said: "Having taken the tablets she could not untake them and I think she realised she had made a terrible mistake. It was a misguided attempt on her part to seek attention. I'm certain she did not intend to kill herself."

In recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Donnelly told the family: "To lose one child is devastating, but to lose two in such circumstances - then words cannot describe that."

Mr Swift said he believed Elaine had taken the tablets because of persistent bullying at two schools in Hartlepool.

At the end of the four-day inquest, Mr Swift said he might have over-reacted to what she was telling him, but said he did believe there had been bullying.

He told the inquest she came home time and again saying she was being bullied. "If that was her fantasy I will never know," he said.

The hearing was told that during 37 sessions with an educational psychologist, Elaine claimed she had been raped, become pregnant and been stalked by a gang of boys. She also claimed she had a twin sister in Scotland.