November 15, 2013
A 14-year-old boy who dyed his hair brown in an effort to stop bullies attacking him for being ginger was found hanged by his father, an inquest has heard.
Simon Walters – who was a pupil at Heath Park School in Wolverhampton, West Midlands – was discovered dead in his bedroom by his 42-year-old father Nigel, with whom he lived alone.
Mr Walters last saw his son alive before leaving for work at 8pm, and said he would always text him during a shift to say he loved him – but on that night he was too busy and never sent the message.
Speaking at the hearing at Smethwick Council House yesterday, Mr Walters described the moment he found his son dead after returning home from a night shift at 4.15am on a day in October last year.
Mr Walters said: ‘Simon’s music was blaring and his lights were still on so I went upstairs to tell him to go to bed. He was hanging. I just ran downstairs screaming – I could not believe it. I was in shock.’
The warehouse worker told the inquest that Simon was also physically attacked by his tormenters and had confronted the school about the abuse, which had been going on for over five months.
He said: ‘In May last year I noticed a lump on his head. When I confronted him about it he said a boy at school hit him.
‘On another occasion when I called Simon to tell him I would pick him up from school I heard children calling him names in the background.
‘The phone call was really bad, lots of children were calling him names and shouting swear words. I discussed the matter with the school and was told there was a zero tolerance policy towards bullying.’
Mr Walters said he was reassured the matter would be resolved but the next day Simon begged his father to go to school with him.
He added: ‘He said “Father can you come to school with me?” He was terrified, he was shaking, he was crying. I asked if everything was okay afterwards and he said it was sorted.