Bullying claims after death of tragic Josh (15)

Published: 18 Oct 2012 13:000 comments

Facebook and Twitter tributes to the 15-year-old Enniskillen schoolboy who died this week have revealed that he had been the victim of bullying.

Joshua Gallagher.

Police say Joshua Gallagher, a pupil at the Erne Integrated College, was found dead in his home in Carran Mews shortly after 6pm on Monday evening.

The teenager was pronounced dead at the scene.

Yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) a PSNI spokesperson confirmed that a post-mortem examination was being carried out on the the teenager's body. It won't be until after the police release Joshua's body back to his family that his funeral can be arranged.

Police say they are investigating postings on social media sites by number of Joshua's friends which would suggest that he was being bullied.

Over two and a half thousand people have signed up to a special tribute Facebook page set up to remember the young boy.

Kay Jones who said she had known the schoolboy from when he was a baby, wrote: "No one deserves the treatment you have received at the hands and big mouths of these cowards but rest assured they will have to answer for their bullying to only one person."

Shania Humes said pupils, including herself, have been left "silent and emotional".

"Who knew that one boy who was being bullied and no one noticed would make a huge impact on everyone. I know it seemed like no one was there but if you'd have just told someone it would have been OK."

Aisling Maguire wrote: "I miss your warm smile and hello in the corridors of school. You were such a nice guy, our whole school is completely devastated and in complete shock."

Desiree Fleming wrote: "You were a credit to your family and my heart goes out to them. Can't write on here what I feel about those who hurt you so much."

Mandy Haskins wrote: "You are at peace now and I hope and pray the people responsible for making you feel the way you did are dealt with so this wont happen again."

Ryan Morrison tweeted: "At some stage tomorrow everyone should take a quiet minute and reflect on the life of Josh Gallagher. Another innocent victim of bullying."

Kyle Coalter tweeted: "You'll never be forgotten Josh Gallagher! Hard to believe we were with each other the other day."

It is understood that Joshua, who was actively involved in St. John's Ambulance and the Lakeland Players, had spoken openly to friends in the past about being bullied.

The principal of Erne Integrated College, Mr David Rees, paid tribute to Joshua yesterday and extended his deepest sympathy to his family on behalf of pupils, staff and Board of Governors.

He said: "Josh was a highly valued Year 12 student who was well regarded by students and staff alike. He contributed positively to many aspects of school life. He will be sorely missed by the whole school community.

"The family has asked for privacy at this very difficult time. We are respecting their wishes and will not be releasing any further details to let the family come to terms with their loss," he said.

Meanwhile, police in Fermanagh are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.

"The death of Joshua Gallagher is, first and foremost, a tragedy for his family and friends. Police are carrying out an investigation for the coroner. As part of that, we have spoken to school staff and to some of his friends.

"We are aware of the comments that have been made on some social networking sites. We would encourage anyone who has information that could help the investigation to contact us," said a spokesperson.

NEED HELP? If you need to talk to someone then you are not alone because help is at hand. Pick up a phone and contact Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 (available 24 hours a day) or visit: www.contactyouth.org.

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