AN ‘intelligent, self-assured and popular’ girl died after a four-year battle with anorexia – a condition she tried to hide from her family.

Charlotte Seddon, 17, wrote about her thoughts and feelings in journals which were discovered only after her death, an inquest heard.

Her father Stephen said Charlotte, a former head girl at Shuttleworth College, had written of being trapped in a cycle of losing weight, repeated exercise and “purging herself.”

“We have learnt more about her condition from what she left for us to read,” he said.

Charlotte of Balliol Close, Padiham, had earlier gained the best exam results in her year.

She died suddenly at her home on November 20, just days after being discharged from The Priory Eating Disorder Clinic in Altrincham where she had been an in-patient since June.

Her parents said they wanted Charlotte’s tragedy to raise awareness of anorexia and bulimia and urged families to look for early signs of the disorder in their children.

They added that help for people suffering from such conditions needed to be more easily available Charlotte was found dead at the home she shared left twin sister Abby, brother Daniel 23 and parents Stephen and Corinne.

The coroners’ court in Burnley heard Charlotte was a happy child who was “absolutely no problem” to her parents.

However she developed self-esteem and eating behaviour problems around the age of 12.

Her brother Daniel, said: “She was highly intelligent, an A Star pupil and was wise beyond her years.

“The condition she had meant that she believed herself that she was in control and she would give out those messages to her family.

“She was extremely knowledgeable about the condition and would know what to say.”

He added that her empathetic nature led to her mentoring other sufferers and she would give advice to them to eat and take their medication, despite the severity of her own condition.

Despite her anorexia, Charlotte performed with ‘distinction and excellence’ both in and out of school.

She gained trophies for student of the year, was a tireless volunteer for school projects, especially in art and was nominated for the Young Burnley Achiever Award in the 2010 Best of Burnley Awards.

Her father, who works at Gisburn park Hospital, said ‘she loved every minute of her school life’.

Charlotte was treated as an outpatient at Pendle House during her teenage years, however issues remained with her weight.

Her potassium levels were often dangerously low along with her Body Mass Index.

After early improvements during her stay at The Priory the condition persisted and she was discharged to home on November 8, returning to the care of Pendle House as an outpatient.

Former senior staff nurse of eating disorder services there Lorraine Sproule said that at a meeting in November Charlotte had read her a statement that ‘she wasn’t any better after her in-patient stay and that nothing had changed’.

Ms Sproule added: “That being said, I think that extending her stay there wouldn’t have made any difference.”

“In a meeting just four days before her death she was more positive.

“She told me about her plans to go to university to become an art therapist and how she had helped art project at school.

“She was also excited about a recent shopping trip to Blackburn with her sister Abby.”

Consultant pathologist at Royal Preston Hospital Dr Jane Edwards, who conducted a post-mortem examination said that Charlotte showed the classical signs of anorexia.

Her weight was around six stones and her the muscles around her heart had been weakened by lack of nutrients.

Her heart weighed 190 grammes when it should normally be around 320 grammes.

Burnley coroner Richard Taylor recorded a narrative verdict.

He said: “Charlotte’s family have painted a picture of an intelligent, self-assured young lady who was overcome by this terrible illness.”