Tuesday 21 October 2014

Tragic Lara was victim of bullying, say school friends

Grainne Cunningham

Published 28/11/2012 | 05:00

FRIENDS and fellow students of 12-year-old suicide victim Lara Burns Gibbs blamed her untimely death on bullying in hundreds of online comments yesterday.

But gardai said they have not received any complaint in relation to this.

And as the horse-mad schoolgirl's family prepare to lay her to rest today, her aunt paid an emotional tribute – insisting that all she wants for Christmas is the return of her "beautiful niece".

Lara's mother Helene discovered her lifeless body in stables behind the house on Saturday.

Hundreds of messages of condolence have been posted online. And many of them, from people describing themselves as friends or schoolmates of Lara, claim she had endured months of bullying.

Friends also posted touching footage on YouTube of Lara playing with a dog and stroking and talking gently to one of the horses she loved so much.

In a heart-rending message on a special tribute page, her aunt Jeanette Rich described her as a "beautiful talented young girl who had the world at her feet".

A steady stream of neighbours, friends and relatives have been calling to the family home outside Kilcock, Co Kildare, where they moved to from Maynooth a couple of years ago.

The family has appealed for privacy through a statement issued by Maynooth Post Primary School. Her mum Helene, dad Robert, stepdad Noel and brother Brendan are all said to be devastated.

Among the online messages blaming bullying for Lara's death was one saying: "She was such a nice person and sadly committed suicide due to bullying. It really has to stop."

Parish priest Fr PJ Byrne echoed the community's heartache, asking: "What is going on? What is bothering our children that we don't know?"

Lara's family have asked that instead of flowers at her funeral, donations should be made to Pieta House in Lucan which helps people struggling with thoughts of suicide.

Lara will be buried today in Laraghbryan Cemetery after 11am Requiem Mass at St Mary's Church in Maynooth.

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