Parents of the an 11-year-old girl who died by hanging in her Belfast home last Friday have said their daughter did not mean to kill herself and only wanted to frighten them.

Ciara’s mother, Mary Cunningham discovered her body in the shower, at the family home in Mount Eagles Park estate, on Friday, according to the Irish Sun newspaper.

A statement released by the Cunningham family said Ciara was “a very loving daughter and a happy child.”

“This was an accident because she did not mean to take her own life. Our family has been left devastated and numb beyond belief by what has happened. We cannot fully understand this tragic loss of our lovely and beautiful young girl.”

Father John Forsythe, a local priest, said that claims made on Facebook that Ciara had been bullied were untrue. He said her death was cause by a dangerous prank that went tragically wrong.

He said “She wanted to hit out at her parents and it just went so badly wrong. That’s how she ended up doing this to herself…This young girl did not want to die…She came from a hard-working loving family who were excellent parents and loved her dearly.”

House in Mount Eagles Park: Ciara Cunningham was found dead in the shower in her family home