Teenagers interviewed over girl’s suicide. Irish Times

Teenagers interviewed over girl’s suicide

CONOR LALLY Crime Correspondent, and STEPHEN MAGUIRE in Donegal

GARDAÍ HAVE spoken to a number of teenagers as part of their investigation into the death of 13-year-old Erin Gallagher, who was bullied online and physically attacked in the period leading up to her taking her own life on Saturday.

The development came as Erin’s mother Lorraine, sister Shannon (15) and brother Sean James (4), as well as her wider family and friends, were preparing for her funeral this morning.

While no arrests had been made, two teenagers presented themselves to gardaí yesterday in the company of their parents and were spoken to as part of the inquiry. Garda sources also said the teenagers were fearful for their own safety in the community and were given security advice.

Gardaí in Ballybofey, where Erin lived with her family and where she died, have also been examining her phone and her activity on social media sites Facebook and ask.fm

The investigating team was trying to build a picture of the identities of children she had contact with in the days leading up to her death. It was also studying what messages sent by phone or social media were hostile or bullying.

In a post on  ask.fm just 24 hours before she took her own life, Erin made reference to other children targeting her with taunts and rumour linked to an alleged physical attack on her.

Erin was babysitting her brother at the family home on the Silverwood estate on Saturday when she took her own life. When her mother returned to the house she found Erin.

Medical attention was called for and arrived immediately. However, the second-year pupil at Finn Valley College in Stranorlar was pronounced dead at the scene. She had previously tried to take her own life in recent weeks.

Erin’s mother had become concerned for her daughter and two months ago reported the bullying to gardaí. It is understood she believes an examination of her daughter’s phone and social media accounts will support her claims that her daughter was subjected to serious bullying.

Erin is to be buried today following 11am Mass at St Mary’s Church in Stranorlar.


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