Sunday 11 December 2016

Grieving father tells inquest teenage son who died in bridge fall was 'bullied because he was gay'

The father added that his son was 'looking forward to his 18th birthday'

Published 18/08/2016 | 13:53

Dublin City Coroner's Court
Dublin City Coroner's Court

The father of a 17-year-old boy who died after he fell from a bridge claims his son was bullied because he way gay.

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Brian McGiff from Ballyogan, Carrickmines, Dublin 18 reached out his hand and asked for help as he dangled from a bridge over the M50, an inquest heard.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard the young man, who had plans to train as a hairdresser, was out with friends in the hours before the incident. He consumed alcohol during a shopping trip to Dublin city centre and was described as ‘somewhat drunk,’ the court heard.

Witness Natalie Brandon said she met Brian at St Stephen's Green around 10pm on February 19 2015. He was holding a bottle of wine.

“He was drunk but in good form,” she said, adding that at one point he ran into The George pub before running back out again. They returned to Carrickmines on the Luas. “He was talking to everyone on the Luas. Then a man said something to him and Brian said to him, ‘You are only slagging me because I am gay,’” Miss Brandon said.

They got off the Luas at Ballyogan and she returned home while Brian went to another house nearby. Witness Lee Maguire said Brian stumbled in the door. There was an altercation at the house, according to Sergeant Edward Maughan.

“Brian had some alcohol consumed and was described as somewhat drunk. He became upset and emotional. A slight altercation ensued with some of the females. He was put out of the house,” Sgt Maughan said. 

Brian then made his way to the top of the bridge crossing the M50 at Carrickmines. Lee Maguire followed him. “I climbed the railings. Brian was sitting on the edge,” he said. Brian turned his body so that his feet were dangling and he was holding onto the ledge with his hands.

“He asked me to help him and said he was sorry. He was in a state, I don’t think he wanted to do it. I tried to help him as best I could,” Mr Maguire said.

Brian McGiff reached out his hand and Lee Maguire grabbed it but his hand slipped and the teen fell, the court heard.

He was rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital where he died the following day.

“I feel my son Brian may have been subjected to some bullying because he was gay, that’s my own personal view,” Frederick McGiff told Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane. “He was looking forward to his 18th birthday, to his college courses,” Mr McGiff said.

The boy’s mother Selina said her son had ‘no ambition to kill himself.’ “His ambition was to come to me in Newry to do hairdressing,” she said. The court heard that Brian had attempted to take his life on one previous occasion. Both parents queried what happened at the house before Brian made his way to the bridge. The inquest was adjourned pending the appearance of another witness who was present at the house.

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