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Cruel hate mail sent to Clarkes after son's death

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Sallyanne and Derry Clarke

Sallyanne and Derry Clarke

Sallyanne and Derry Clarke

A MUM left devastated when her son took his own life was the target of vicious hate mail blaming her for his death.

Sallyanne Clarke's son Andrew was just 16 when he died by suicide over Christmas in 2012.

Sallyanne and her celebrity chef husband Derry received a barrage of mail from strangers in the wake of their son's death.

Most for the letters were supportive, but some of it was vile, she revealed.

"There was one particularly bad one," she said

"It was about how I obviously 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?"

cowards

The anonymous letter-writer also asked her "did I ever think that maybe my son just wanted to get away from me", the 
heartbroken mum said.

Someone that writes an upsetting letter like that are cowards, Sallyanne told Ray D'Arcy.

An inquest into Andrew's death revealed that he has traces of cocaine and benzodiazepines in his body when he died.

But his mum is still convinced that the South-Dublin teenager didn't fully appreciate the repercussions of taking his own life.

"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," she said.

Being left without a reason for her son's death has been one of the hardest things to cope with, she admitted.

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

"He had his bag half-packed for school as well so whatever was going through his head at the time, I've no idea."

It is almost impossible to know your own children she warned listeners.

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

Sallyanne previously described the lead-up to her son's death and said there were no indications that he was suffering.

"He was just one of those kids that you loved and he had a presence. When people say you have the 'it' factor, he definitely had it," she said.

In the wake of the tragedy, Derry had to have a heart bypass. It was something that he would have needed eventually, but it had to be brought forward as he coped with losing his young son.

She also noted that people avoided her after Andrew's death because they had no idea what to say.

Their family will never get over the death of their teenage son, she admitted.

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

hnews@herald.ie


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