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A teenager was found dead near the Dorset coast after hearing a man she had accused of rape was due to be released from prison, an inquest heard.

Gaia Pope-Sutherland, 19, was reported missing from her home in Swanage on 7 November 2017 and was found dead 11 days later in undergrowth between Dancing Ledge and Anvil Point.

A large search operation had been launched in the Swanage area for the teenager, which included police, HM Coastguard, the National Police Air Service, Dorset Search and Rescue and members of the public.

The teenager, who suffered from severe epilepsy, was said to have been troubled on the day she was last seen alive because of the imminent release from prison of the man she had accused of raping her, Dorset Coroner’s Court has heard.

Miss Pope-Sutherland had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after saying she had been raped by the man when she was 16.

The allegation led to an investigation but no charge.

On the first day of her inquest at the Town Hall in Bournemouth, the jury watched the video pen portrait produced by Miss Pope-Sutherland’s family.

Set to music, the three-minute video shows several images of Gaia and is narrated by members of her family.

Twin sister Maya Pope-Sutherland began the narration, with the words: "Gaia grew up in Dorset with her mum Natasha, big sister Clara, twin sister Maya and cousin Marienna.

"Gaia loved her family and her home deeply. She was happiest out in the Purbeck nature her grandparents introduced her to, inspired by its beauty and wildlife to create art.

"Or, of course, cuddling up with her beloved cat Bella, a rescue prone to scratching others but who let Gaia cradle her like a baby."

Gaia’s mother Kim Pope said: "Gaia was a force of nature and fiercely loyal to those she loved. Despite being bullied herself at school, or perhaps because of this, she was always ready to stand up for those who needed it.

"She was a shoulder to cry on and a friend to be relied on. With Gaia around, there was never a dull moment – or a quiet one.

"She had a joyful nature, a ready and radiant smile and filled our lives with song and laughter."

The teenager’s aunt Talia Pope added: "After she shared that she had been raped, Gaia’s deteriorating physical and mental health changed her life.

"At times our girl would seem to disappear, lost in fear and self-doubt. But she fought bravely to return to us, and her inner light always shone through the clouds.

"Gaia also kept hold of her dreams. She hoped to have a big family and host Christmases in the Dorset cottage she dreamed of, surrounded by her family and friends."

Gaia’s older sister Clara Pope-Sutherland continued: "The challenges she faced as a young woman living with epilepsy and as a survivor of sexual violence inspired her to pursue a career in health and social care.

"Gaia had strong values and wanted to contribute to positive change for her community. This makes us so proud."

The video ended with Gaia’s cousin Marienna Pope-Weidemann, who said: "Above all, we remember Gaia’s immense passion, compassion and creativity.

"We give thanks for every day we got to share with her. The world is a darker place without Gaia, and she will be missed every minute of the rest of our lives."

© Sky News 2022