New Hulu drama The Girl from Plainville – starring Elle Fanning, Colton Ryan and Chloe Sevigny – is the latest true-crime story to hit our screens, based on the truly astonishing story of Michelle Carter (the eponymous girl from Plainville) who was charged with killing her boyfriend.

But all is not as straightforward as it seems. The narrative packs in suicide, suspected murder, teen romance, mental health struggles, tragic text messages and a landmark murder trial that set a fascinating precedent about the power of words. But what is the true story behind the drama?

On 13 July 2014, 18-year-old Conrad Roy was found dead in his truck in a car park behind a supermarket in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

It was ruled a suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. It seemed a tragic, but simple story. That would not long be the case.

Michelle Carter was a student at King Philip high school and lived in the middle-class suburb of Plainville.

She had met Conrad Roy two years earlier while both were visiting family in Florida. The teens both lived in Massachusetts, an hour’s drive away from one another, though from very different social backgrounds. 

 They struck up a long-distance friendship, and then romance, though only saw each other a handful of times.

The pair bonded over their mental health struggles. Carter was isolated at school, and suffered from anxiety and an eating disorder that – during the time period of her relationship with Roy – necessitated a stay at a residential clinic. Roy himself had already made several suicide attempts.