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She was bullied. I want to forgive that but it's very difficult -- grandad

A pretty 13-year-old girl's family say she was bullied to death.

Schoolgirl Chloe Coleman killed herself in her grandfather’s home in January after she was attacked by teenagers.

Her devastated grandad, Oliver Coleman, says Chloe’s tragic death was like “losing a part of myself.

Mr Coleman described his young granddaughter as “the light of his life”, adding: “Chloe was a very special and popular young girl.

“She was my little angel. It’s heartbreaking to know she’s not there any more.”

He told the Herald: “She was like my shadow. She always looked after me.”

Chloe took her own life just seven weeks ago -- and the family have claimed that bullying by people in the area, and not at her school, led to her actions which have left her family and friends heartbroken.

Gardai are currently investigating all the circumstances surrounding the young schoolgirl's death.

It is believed Chloe was attacked in the toilet of a local teen disco in Longford on January 14 after a minor row.

She is reported to have received a text warning her she would get "some more" on the morning of Monday 17.

She was found dead that day.

Mr Coleman says he now wants to offer support to families whose children are being bullied.

"If we can help just one child who is going through what Chloe went through then we've succeeded."

Chloe was a first-year student at Scoil Mhuire in Longford Town and her grandfather believes she was severely bullied outside of the school in the months leading up to her tragic death.

"She was bullied. I want to forgive that but it's very difficult. I can't tell you what a gorgeous young lady she was. I pray to Chloe everyday."

He added that he is working with local politicians to highlight the need to tackle bullying "in all walks of life".

Mr Coleman urged any teenager who is being bullied to tell their family and friends.

"I hope that any child who is feeling low will tell their parents. And my message to parents whose children are being bullied is to act before it's too late.



TRAGIC

"We can't have more children losing their lives. We have to do something so that bullying is recognised in this country like it is in America. We have to stop bullying in our communities," he said.

A memorial service for tragic Chloe is being held on March 16 in St Mel's Cathedral in Longford.

A Facebook page set up in memory of Chloe is still receiving dozens of messages daily. One recent message reads: "I love you so much, it's hard to be happy without you," while another one condemns the teenagers who "bullied" Chloe.

Chloe's death came a year after Irish student Phoebe Prince (15) hanged herself after enduring bullying and taunting in her Massachusetts high school.

Five students are currently facing charges in relation to the bullying that occurred before Phoebe's death. They are expected to stand trial later this year.

Phoebe was originally from Co Clare and had moved to the US with her family, becoming a high school student in Massachusetts.

In December, her devastated parents reached a settlement in relation to their complaint about discrimination at South Hadley High School.

Meanwhile, Mr Coleman (72) has thanked everybody in his local community who is working to increase awareness about bullying in the wake of Chloe's death.

Future fundraisers and benefits are likely be held in Chloe's memory, and Mr Coleman asks that people always check identification of people making the collection before making a donation.

hnews@herald.ie