herald

Tuesday 18 September 2018

'We'll bring Nicole's bullies to justice', says family of tragic girl

Nicole Fox Fenlon was the victim of online bullying before her death
Nicole Fox Fenlon was the victim of online bullying before her death

The family of a young Dublin woman who died by suicide say they're determined to bring her bullies to justice.

Nicole Fox Fenlon (21), from Clondalkin, died in Tallaght Hospital last Thursday after being subjected to years of torment from people she knew.

After hitting out at the bullies who repeatedly targeted Nicole, her mother Jackie is now working with gardai to find those responsible.

"Jackie wants this sorted legally because she wants these people punished," said the 21-year-old's uncle Gavin Coventry.

"We're not going to let them get away with what they've done to Nicole - absolutely not. We want to let everyone know that this type of behaviour will not be accepted."

Mr Coventry said his family are gathering as much evidence as possible for gardai. However, they're unable to gain access to Nicole's phone.

"Nicole took screenshots of everything on her iPhone, but we just can't get into it," he said.

"I even went to the hospital last Friday and tried to open it using her fingerprints, but she also has a password."

Nicole Fox Fenlon with her mum Jackie
Nicole Fox Fenlon with her mum Jackie

The caring uncle added that gardai are also unable to bypass the password due to the iPhone's strict security settings.

"We've heard of a certain way we can do it but there's a chance everything will be erased so we don't want to risk it. However, we're not giving up hope and are determined to find a way to safely acquire the evidence."

A spokesperson from Apple told the Herald it will do everything it can to help the family and will be happy to assist gardai if contacted.

Nicole, who was known affectionately by all her family as Coco, was known as a bright, intelligent, beautiful girl who just wanted to have fun with her friends.

Mr Coventry said that gardai had been "absolutely amazing" to his grieving family.

"I firmly believe that they are 100pc committed in helping us find Nicole's bullies.

They're giving us a bit of space now because it's still very raw, but I'll be giving the guards I've been dealing with a ring soon enough to ask him what they're doing," he said.

BULLYING

"We know a number of people that were involved in bullying her and are able to provide the gardai with names.

Jackie Fox Fenton holds a picture of her daughter Nicola who took her own life.
Jackie Fox Fenton holds a picture of her daughter Nicola who took her own life.

"Now we just have to prove everything. We're trying to do as much as we can to build up a case."

The grieving family member said that a fake Facebook account was made to ridicule his niece, but has since been taken down. He's now appealing to the social media site to pass on the creator's IP address to the guards.

"We know Facebook can get that page back and send whatever was said about Nicole to the Irish authorities," he said.

"Anonymous trolls are hiding behind their computer screens and saying atrocious things about whoever they want. They can then take it down whenever it suits them.

"We want this to stop once and for all because otherwise it's just going to keep on happening."

Mr Coventry believes social media sites should be held accountable if an individual is being cyber-bullied on their platform.

"If people are being bullied and intimidated on their site they should have a duty of care to that person.

"A bank has a duty of care to protect their customers and the same should apply to social media platforms."

If you or someone you know is affected by topics in this story, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or Pieta House on 1800 247 247.

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