Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Dad of suicide teen: My daughter was bullied for being gay

Julia Derbyshire killed herself aged 16 Credit: SWNS

A father who released a harrowing picture of his 16-year-old daughter on a ventilator in hospital shortly before she died by suicide says she had been bullied for being gay.

Adrian Derbyshire, 42, from Warrington, Cheshire, says the bullying began when his daughter Julia was 12 and living in Missouri in the US.

He and his wife had moved to America when Julia was four but five years later her father returned to the UK after the marriage broke up.

Julia moved to the UK to live with him when she was 14 but Derbyshire says she was "very damaged" as a result of the bullying. He says it began when she was 12 and confided in a friend that she may be gay but the girl told their peers.

He says she endured two years of physical and mental abuse and the bullying continued online after she moved back to the UK.

She was just exploring her sexuality and wanted to share it with her friend - but her friend told all the school and it started there.

She was spat on, there was name calling. It was physical as well as psychological.

It escalated and Julia started self-harming to cope with the bullies.

– Adrian Derbyshire

Derbyshire said his daughter had dreams of studying political journalism at university after her studies at Penketh High School and Sixth Form.

Julia Derbyshire's dad says his daughter committed suicide after being bullied for being gay Credit: SWNS

However, he said she was still receiving messages from bullies in the US who she wanted "to like her for who she was".

It later emerged that Julia had secret phones and a false identity as a member of online groups promoting teenage self-harm and suicide.

Derbyshire discovered his daughter collapsed in the living room of their home in October 2015 and she died five days later in hospital.

He released the photo of Julia in hospital on Wednesday, March 8, on what would have been her 18th birthday.

Derbyshire says he has received more than 10,000 messages from around the world and has been in contact with a chief representative from the United Nations.

No parent, family or friend should ever go through the devastation and loss I have - we all have.

– Adrian Derbyshire

"The response tells us how much of a problem it is," the two-time Paralympic gold medal winner said.

"There are kids who are getting bullied and they are sitting next to their parents at the dinner table with the iPad and being bullied."

Help and support:

  • If you're in distress or need some support, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day on 116 123 or visit their website
  • Childline can offer advice and support on bullying and cyberbullying on freephone 0800 1111, or send an email, have a 1-2-1 chat, or send a message to Ask Sam