Wednesday 26 October 2016

Gardai given 2,500 pages of Facebook messages in probe into suicide of teen

Louise Roseingrave

Published 16/01/2016 | 02:30

Darren Hughes Gibson
Darren Hughes Gibson

A mother who believes her son was cyberbullied before taking his own life has called for charges to be brought against those involved.

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Elaine Hughes told Dublin Coroner's Court she wants to know what happened to her son, Darren Hughes Gibson, so it can't happen to anyone else.

An inquest in to the 17-year-old's death heard gardaí received 2,500 pages of messages sent to and from Darren's Facebook account which had been deleted after his death.

Det Insp Kieran Holohan, of Balbriggan Garda Station, said the information included messages sent after Darren's death.

"There are messages post-death that would be of interest, including mentions of bullying - friends of his making comments," Det Insp Holohan said.

The messages - obtained from Facebook through US authorities following an application by the DPP - include inferences of harassment and bullying, the court heard.

Gardaí have identified a number of examples of "reading material" they have concerns about, with three conversations in particular "standing above" others. Interviews have begun and a number of statements have been taken, although gardaí were experiencing difficulties contacting many of those involved, the court heard.

Gardaí agreed to send a sample of complaints arising from the Facebook messages to the DPP.

Darren was found hanging at the Stephenstown Industrial Estate in Balbriggan, north county Dublin, on August 23, 2012, a day after he failed to return to the family home at New Haven Bay. Ms Hughes said her son was bullied throughout his life for the colour of his skin and because he wore a hearing aid.

Speaking from the public gallery she said she wanted gardaí to bring charges to progress the case, saying: "This is why we're still in the situation we are in, nobody will follow through with charges. It's either bullying and harassment, or it's not.

"He was a child, he can't be here to defend himself. I should be able to give a statement on his behalf in order to follow through with the charges. I'm looking for closure."

The inquest was adjourned to April 15.

Irish Independent

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