THE father of Irish schoolgirl Phoebe Prince, who hanged herself after being bullied at a US school, has broken his silence on his daughter’s death.
Jeremy Prince told NBC’s Dateline that he would be willing to meet some of the students who have been convicted in relation to his daughter’s death “if they are feeling really genuine remorse, they have a healing process to go through as well”.
Mr Prince, who lives in west Clare, also said he “would never have wanted people to be jailed. In the end, they should know compassion.”
One of those involved in the bullying, Sharon Chanon Velazquez, was also interviewed. She said Phoebe (15) “didn’t deserve any of the things that happened to her”.
Phoebe was found dead by her 12-year-old sister at the family’s rented home in Massachusetts in 2010. “She told me she tried to undo the knots around Phoebe’s neck but couldn’t,” Mr Prince said.
The suicide took place just two days before a school dance Phoebe had been looking forward to.
Her family was stunned to find out the dance still went ahead. Mr Prince continued: “Phoebe was wearing her lovely dress when they were dancing there that night, with the accessories, the flowers – in the coffin with her.”
Prince’s suicide followed months of vicious bullying by fellow students, including South Hadley High’s top footballer Sean Mulveyhill, who Phoebe had a short lived relationship with.
Phoebe was believed to be particularly upset at Mulveyhill’s involvement with the harassment campaign, as she had confided in him during their brief relationship.
A text sent to a friend shortly before her death saying “I think Sean condoning this is one of the final nails in my coffin… It would be easier if he or anyone of them handed me the noose.”
The Prince family have returned to Ireland since the trial, which saw an agreement being reached that those involved in the bullying campaign would serve probation and community service.
The Prince family also received $225,000 (€170,000) from town officials on the agreement they would not pursue any further charges.
Anti bullying laws have been passed in the state of Massachusetts since the case, in order to give better protection to the victims of bullying.