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Garda probe into claims of Facebook bullying

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Darren Hughes Gibson

Darren Hughes Gibson

Darren Hughes Gibson

Gardai have launched a criminal investigation into the death of a teenager whose mother believes that he was cyberbullied in the weeks before he took his own life.

The body of Darren Hughes-Gibson (17) was discovered on August 23, 2012 - a day after he was reported missing by his mother, Elaine Hughes, when he failed to return to their home at New Haven Bay in Balbriggan, Co Dublin.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard that gardai are now investigating the allegations of harassment of Darren prior to his death.

The inquest had previously heard from Ms Hughes that he may have received threatening messages on Facebook which were subsequently deleted.

She told the court she believes her son was being bullied because he was mixed race and had a hearing aid.

Earlier this year gardaĆ­ said that they had been liaising with the FBI on retrieving the messages from Facebook but the company was not co-operating. Following the June hearing, Ms Hughes appealed to Facebook to "show some compassion" by releasing the messages to the coroner.

The hearing prompted Facebook to issue a statement saying they will "respond to valid legal requests for information" and that they "encourage law enforcement agencies to follow our guidelines to help take their cases forward".

Updating the coroner on the gardai 's efforts, Detective Inspector Kieran Holohan said that a criminal investigation into potential harassment is being carried out. The investigation will provide grounds for the application to access Darren's Facebook accounts, the court heard.

"It is not enough that we have belief, we must be able to have facts that we can communicate to the American authorities," he said. Once the grounds for the application are in place, garda headquarters will forward the request on to the American authorities who will then take it to Facebook, the court heard.

The inquest was adjourned until December.

Irish Independent