Sunday 29 May 2016

Tragic Erin named Ask.fm in suicide note, claims mother

Greg Harkin

Published 14/08/2013 | 05:00

Erin Gallagher
Erin Gallagher

BULLYING victim Erin Gallagher named the website Ask.fm in her suicide note, her mother has said.

Lorraine Gallagher said she was haunted by what she saw when she found her 13-year-old daughter at their home in Ballybofey, Co Donegal, last October.

She also revealed that her eldest daughter Shannon (15) took her own life two months after Erin because she couldn't cope with life without her, and she called for new controls on the social media site.

It has also emerged that Ask.fm has only now removed the profile pages of both Erin and 15-year-old Leitrim girl Ciara Pugsley, who also took her own life.

Ms Gallagher said she spoke to the UK's Channel Four News after the death last week of Hannah Smith who was also bullied on the same site.

"I want Ask.fm to shut down because I don't want to turn on the TV again and see that another kid has killed herself because they have been bullied on Ask.fm," she said in an interview last night.

BULLYING

"I asked myself questions. You just go around in a circle because with suicide you have no answers.

"When Erin died, I ran to get help. I knew she was dead."

She said her daughter had written in a note: "I'm sorry I have to do this but I'm fed up of the bullying."

"She named Ask.fm," she added.

Ms Gallagher said her eldest daughter had missed Erin and also left a suicide note inside a Christmas present she had bought for her mum.

"Shannon was the oldest and she had never lived a day of her life without Erin. Everybody thought that because Shannon was a tomboy and was outspoken that Erin needed Shannon.

"That was wrong – it was Shannon who needed Erin. Shannon just said: 'Hi mum, I just want you to know how much I love you' and she said 'negative things happen for positive reasons and I hope to see you again very soon'.

"I want to get justice for Shannon and Erin. Even if they can't shut down Ask.fm, they can bring in a wall for the people who are bullying so maybe then there wouldn't be as much bullying on Ask.fm because they would be too scared to."

Last night, Ciara's father Jonathan said the Latvian company's decision to remove his daughter's page 11 months after her death "just sums them up".

"They (Ask.fm) only removed Ciara's profile yesterday," said Mr Pugsley.

"That said it all really. We need to be more proactive and stand up to cyberbullies."

He said he wasn't personally seeking to ban any websites – just to have them regulated.

Irish Independent

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