herald

Thursday 21 September 2017

Boy (14) who took his life was bullied

A 14-year-old boy who tragically took his own life had been the victim of a bullying campaign.

The teenager took his father's legally held gun and shot himself, just hours before he was due to go back to school in the north-east of Ireland after his Christmas break.

The teenager, whose name and location is not being disclosed by the Herald at the request of his parents, was described by his heartbroken mother as "a beautiful person".

"He was smart and he was funny," she said.

His dad said: "He was a great friend to all his mates."

The teen, who had been the victim of a sustained bullying campaign, was due to be buried today by his devastated parents. Sources have confirmed that gardai investigating the teenager's death are examining the theory that he was driven to suicide by bullying.

"We can't rule out other factors because the investigation has only really just begun. But the theory that he took his own life over bullying is being examined closely. He had been a victim of bullying for some time, " a source said.

The boy had been receiving counselling for several months after having suicidal thoughts within the last year.

On Sunday evening, he took his dad's legally held firearm and shot himself in a room at the family's rural home.

The emergency services were immediately alerted. The teen was still alive when officers arrived at the scene. But despite the best efforts of paramedics and gardai, the boy died a few minutes later.

His dad said: "The school is investigating and there are a lot of people investigating. We know what the situation was with [our son] and we don't want to discuss that now. There are some of the kids at the moment that are really struggling to cope.

"There are kids that at some point didn't get on with [our son] and those kids are very, very sad because they could not reconcile with [him] before this happened."

The boy's mother appealed to teenagers who are feeling suicidal to talk to someone. She said: "Please, if you feel down, talk to someone." She also praised the boy's school. "The school has been absolutely brilliant."

hnews@herald.ie

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