Sunday 18 November 2018

New court papers tell of Phoebe's dark last day

The callousness of Phoebe Prince's bullies was evident even on Facebook, writes Donal Lynch

THE Facebook photograph shows Sean Mulveyhill and Katie Broderick laughing with each other at the local school dance in South Hadley, Massachusetts, just two days after their Irish schoolmate, Phoebe Prince, 15, took her own life. Dressed in a tuxedo and ballgown, the handsome 17-year-old football player and his pretty young friend look as though the girl who didn't get to go to the dance is very far from their minds.

Their indifference was matched by that of many of their classmates. The day after Phoebe died, Mulveyhill's friend Ashley Longe, 16, referred to Phoebe in an especially callous message on her Facebook page: "She brought it on herself." On other websites, offensive messages posted about Phoebe were subsequently taken down.

At the time it appeared that nothing would be done about this online taunting. Phoebe's family had her body cremated and brought home to Co Clare, and locals in Massachusetts believed that the young people who had bullied her would go unpunished.

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