A California prosecutor is to apply for a search warrant to access two Facebook accounts belonging to an Irish teenager who took his own life.
Darren Hughes-Gibson (17) was found hanging in the Stephenstown Industrial Estate in Balbriggan, Co Dublin, on August 23, 2012. His mother Elaine Hughes reported him missing when he failed to return home to New Haven Bay in Balbriggan the previous night.
Ms Hughes has raised concerns that her son (pictured inset), may have received threatening messages on his Facebook accounts in the weeks before he died and the messages were deleted following his death. She has previously told the Dublin Coroner's Court she believes her son, who she described as a "happy young man", was being bullied because he was mixed race and had a hearing aid. She has submitted text messages from Darren's phone to the court, which coroner Dr Brian Farrell has described as "highly inappropriate" with a "threatening undertone".
The inquest into Darren's death was opened in September 2013, but has been adjourned repeatedly since then as gardaí attempt to retrieve the Facebook messages. Those efforts were stepped up nine months ago when a criminal investigation was launched.
In order to access the Facebook accounts, gardaí have had to make an application to the US authorities via the Department of Justice. Detective Inspector Kieran Holohan told the inquest the Californian prosecutor has said an application will be made for a search warrant for the Facebook accounts.