A mother claims that her son was abused over his mixed race on Facebook before he committed suicide. Elaine Hughes made the statement from the body of the court during the inquest into the death of her 17 year old son, Darren Hughes-Gibson.
Hughes said that her son was in “good spirits” the day he disappeared last year. She became worried when he did not come home and his phone was off. She reported him missing the next day. One of Hughes-Gibson’s friends saw that he was missing on Facebook and went to an abandoned warehouse where he had seen Hughes-Gibson before. The friend found the body there and called emergency services.
The Independent reported that Hughes told the court she believed he was bullied because, “I was told there were threatening messages on his Facebook that were deleted when he passed away.” She also said that she had heard “plenty of rumours” after his death.
Hughes-Gibson was deaf in one ear and wore an ear piece. It is believed he was bullied, in particular on online social networking sites.
Officer Derek Dalton of the Irish police said they have requested information about one of Hughes-Gibson’s Facebook accounts, but they may have to wait six to nine months for a response. Hughes said there may be messages on another of Hughes-Gibson’s accounts, which he had deactivated.
Hughes is not deterred by the wait. She said, “I will wait six months, nine months, six years to find out. I need to know what drove him to this.”
Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said that he would make separate enquiries to Facebook about Hughes-Gibson’s accounts. He adjourned the inquest for further mention in March.
Sadly Hughes-Gibson is not the first teenager in Ireland to commit suicide after being the victim of cyber bullying. Thirteen year old Erin Gallagher committed suicide in October 2012 after months of cyber bullying on ask.fm and fifteen year old Ciara Pugsley also took her own life six weeks earlier after being bullied on the same website.