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Schoolboy, 12, took his own life after questioning his sexuality and being bullied

Riley Hadley, pictured with big brother Jack, was just 12 years old when he died

2021-05-20

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Riley Hadley with big brother Jack (Jack Holmes)

A schoolboy from Sidmouth, Devon took his own life after questioning his sexuality and being bullied by classmates, an inquest has heard.

Former Sidmouth Community College pupil Riley Hadley was called a "gentle, caring boy who struggled with large groups of individuals" at an inquest into his death at Exeter's County Hall today.

According to Devon Live, Hadley - who was being homeschooled - was found hanged in his bedroom by his mother on 15 October 2019. It is believed his questioning his sexuality made him a target for bullies. Before his death, he reportedly became agitated after a return to school was discussed.

 “He was afraid to go to school and the local park in fear of being bullied"

In a statement, Hadley's mother Alison Holmes said: "He was afraid to go to school and the local park in fear of being bullied.”

Of his questioning his sexuality, she added: "As he was still young I did not see it as a big concern."

“I think we had a good relationship and he would tell me if something was worrying him,” she continued.

Hadley, who suffered from anxiety and had trouble sleeping, had not shared thoughts of wanting to harm himself with either of his parents, the publication adds.

Riley's dad Jodie Hadley said in a statement their relationship was "very good," adding: "I would have intervened if I knew. I spoke extensively about bullying with him, but he never said he had a problem.”

According to Metro, Hadley was pushed into a road and tripped up in corridors by classmates while at school. Detective inspector Charlotte Heath reportedly spoke to 30 children as part of investigation into Hadley's death; they told he previously threatened to hang himself in 2014.

Assistant coroner Alison Longhorn Read said: "It must be heartbreaking to lose someone so young in these circumstances. I can't imagine how difficult it has been for you all."

If you are struggling with your mental health, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123.