A schoolgirl who donated life-saving bone marrow to her younger sister died four years later after accidentally overdosing on tablets in a misguided bid 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 that could have led to her death, said Hartlepool Coroner Malcolm Donnelly.

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

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 that 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 and staff when she told elaborate tales and that the overdose incident would have attracted similar attention.

He added: "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 a four-day inquest today, 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 added.

Soon after the bone marrow transplant Elaine was referred to an educational psychologist, the inquest heard. She received 37 counselling sessions, including 28 one-hour face-to-face sessions with a social worker where it emerged she was prone to fantasising.

She had claimed she was raped, became pregnant and being stalked by a gang of boys. She also claimed she had a twin sister in Scotland.

Verdict: Accidental death.