Tuesday 19 February 2019

Derry and Sallyanne Clarke receive hate mail blaming them for son's tragic death

*Grieving Sallyanne Clarke told Today FM's Ray D'Arcy about hate mail
* She told of one 'nasty' unsigned letter saying her son wanted to 'get away from her'
* 'People like that are cowards. If you’re going to write something like that you should really sign it,' she says
* Andrew was just 16 when he took his own life two days after Christmas in 2012
* Sallyanne says they will never get over his death

Sallyanne and Derry Clarke
Sallyanne and Derry Clarke
Testament of Courage: Sallyanne and Derry Clarke at L'Ecrivan restaurant. Photo: Tony Gavin.
Sallyanne Clarke and her son Andrew
Derry Clarke and his wife Sallyanne

GRIEVING Sallyanne Clarke has received hate mail blaming her for her tragic son’s death.

Her late son Andrew (16) was found slumped in the garage of the family home in South Dublin just two days after Christmas in 2012 after attempting to end his own life.

He passed away on New Year’s Eve.

His heartbroken parents Sallyanne and Derry Clarke – who own well-known restaurant ‘L’Ecrivcain’ – and Andrew's sister Sarah May were shocked by his death.

An inquest into his death last month found he had traces of cocaine and benzodiazepines when he died.

His grieving father Derry subsequently said he had “no idea” where his teenage son got the drugs.

Speaking on Today FM’s Ray D’Arcy show yesterday, Sallyanne told how she received hate mail in the aftermath of her son’s inquest.

“There was one particularly bad one, it was quite a nasty letter and it wasn’t signed.

“It was about obviously I abandoned him as a mother and why didn’t we bury him in a local church quietly and without publicity and why do I constantly crave publicity and did I ever think maybe my son just wanted to get away from me?

“People like that are cowards. If you’re going to write something like that you should really sign it.”

Sallyanne, who underwent a knee replacement last year, also revealed that the stress of Andrew’s death contributed to her husband needing a heart bypass before Christmas.

“He was going to need it but the last year just brought it forward a couple of years.

“It’s like me with my knee. I knew it was going to happen but the last year with the stress and everything else just exacerbated it and brought it forward.”

Sallyanne also spoke of her belief that her son might not have thought of the long-term consequences his tragic actions would cause.

“I do believe that when teenagers like that die by suicide they don’t really think of the long-term picture. I don’t think they think it’s forever.

“You think you know your son, you think you know your children, but they get to a certain age where obviously they have secrets.

“Unless somebody knows something, and will give us a phone call sometime, we don’t know.

“There were all these plans for the future. There were plans for that day, for that weekend and the following week.

“He had his bag half-packed for school as well so whatever was going through his head at that moment in time, I’ve no idea.

“He was just one of those kids that you loved him and he had a presence. When people say you have the ‘it’ factor, he definitely had it.”

Sallyanne said her family will never get over Andrew’s death.

“You get around it, you work around it, but you never actually get over it. We were back to work within three weeks and it was actually our saviour because we just threw ourselves back into it.

“There first three months after it happened, business was terrible because people don’t know what to say.

“I know people avoided me, not because they didn’t want to see me – because they didn’t know what to say, they couldn’t handle it.”

The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123

Teen-Line Ireland can be reached on freephone number  1800 833 634

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