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Distraught mum found 'horrific' texts on phone

A mother found "horrific" and "threatening" messages on her teenage son's mobile phone after he died by suicide, she told the Dublin coroner.

Elaine Hughes, mother of Darren Hughes-Gibson (17) from New Haven Bay in Balbriggan, Co Dublin, said that she believes her son's death was linked to cyberbullying.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard that a number of people have been interviewed following the discovery of the messages and gardai are considering further action.

INQUEST

The inquest into Darren's death had previously been adjourned after Ms Hughes raised concerns that he may have received threatening messages on Facebook prior to being found hanged at a warehouse in Stephenstown Industrial Estate in Balbriggan on August 23, 2012. The court had heard that he was found in the abandoned building by a friend who went searching for him after seeing on Facebook he was missing.

When gardai investigated Darren's mobile they found a text message to his mother which coroner Dr Brian Farrell described as a "farewell note".

Ms Hughes told the court she believed that her son had been bullied because he was of mixed race and had a hearing aid.

Threatening messages had been deleted from his Facebook account following his death, she said. Dr Farrell adjourned the inquest to allow time for gardai to secure information on Darren's accounts from Facebook.

Updating the court on their progress, Garda Derek Dalton said that there are two to three avenues of investigation that have yet to be exhausted.

Ms Hughes said that she found the messages on the phone after it was returned to her by gardai following the first day of the inquest.

"They are horrific, the things that they were saying to him," she said. "There were messages on the phone saying the things they were going to do to him and that they wanted him dead.

"I feel if it were not for those messages, he would still be here." People that she thought were Darren's friends had said "horrific" things, she added.

FORENSIC

Garda Dalton said that the messages reappeared when the phone was restored to factory settings after forensic investigators inspected it. He told the coroner that a number of people have been interviewed.

Dr Farrell told Ms Hughes that he would review the messages but he could not comment further. He adjourned the inquest for another mention on June 12.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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