The heartbroken parents of a young Irish girl tormented for years over her red hair have called for ‘ginger bullying’ to be branded a hate crime after her suicide.
Galway born teenager Helena Farrell was found dead in a woodland near her English home after years of bullying over the color of her hair. The family had moved to Britain from Galway.
Her parents have said she was ‘bullied to death’ over her red hair.
They say 15-year-old Helena had been taunted for years over her hair and are convinced she was driven to suicide.
Heartbroken dad Enda told the Irish Mirror newspaper: “People need to realise that when they say the things they do, it can have deeply traumatising effects. It can lead to self-harm and suicide.
“Helena’s death was not just because of it, but the bullying she faced all her life certainly contributed.
“This is not just about hair, it’s a person that you are hurting. When a child dies in an accident it is a terrible thing.
“But when a child kills herself, as a parent you’re haunted by questions like ‘How did I not see it? How did I not realize that my daughter was so ill?’”
The Farrell family had moved to the Cumbria region of Britain in 2001.
Helena’s dad now wonders if she would still be alive had they stayed in Ireland.
He added: “I think if Helena had been raised in Ireland, people would have seen her as a beautiful child and treated her far differently.
“But for some reason this anti-ginger movement has developed over here.”
Luke Roberts of the UK Anti-Bullying Alliance told the paper: “For people with ginger hair, bullying seems to be acceptable, the norm.
“Such attacks need to be dealt with in the same way as any other prejudice.”