“A tormented choirboy hanged himself after suffering for years at the hands of school bullies, an inquest was told.

The boy was burnt with cigarettes, battered with school text books and branded a homosexual during five years of abuse at two schools.

The talented 15 year old was found hanged in his bedroom next to a note naming those he blamed for his death.

‘The real tragedy,’ said his headmaster, ‘was that his parents, the school and his grand parents were not aware of his suffering.
It is very difficult to do anything about bullying without knowing it is going on’.

The inquest was told that the slightly built boy was unable to stick up for himself when confronted by bullies because of his physique.

Three of his friends said the bubbly youngster was systematically tormented both physically and mentally at school. One 16 year old friend said that a week before his death in March, 1998, the boy had told her that he could stand the pain of his bullying no longer. She said that he was frequently called “gayboy” and “poof” because he enjoyed cookery and drama.

During one English lesson he was whacked in the face with a textbook before being verbally abused.

The inquest heard how the boy, who had intended to go to catering school after taking his GCSE’s, was bullied ever since leaving primary school.

On one occasion, as he walked past a church, a gang of classmates burnt his head, back and school bag with cigarettes.
On another occasion he was made to sit on the floor while boys mocked him.

After the boy’s death at his home in Horninglow, police launched an investigation.
11 pupils were arrested on suspicion of harassment and countless others were questioned, but the Crown prosecution has decided not to take further action.

This is taken from the local paper 5/11/98. The boy’s name has been removed here by request of his family.

Antilocution verbal abuse

Darren for years at school both primary and secondary is called names , gay boy, bum boy, batty boy, fudge pusher, faggot

Use as many you feel appropriate and ‘comfortable’ with


Darren is ignored

People don’t sit next to him

Don’t pass the ball to him etc.


People use what power they have to make his life hell

Don’t tell him the homework

Won’t lend pencils, books etc.

Physical Attack Graffiti

His books are covered with graffiti

When he goes into the toilet he sees all sorts of stuff Darren is a poof etc.

On way home from school outside church he is burnt with cigarettes

Hit in class etc


That is what he does

Explore how the adults claim not knowing

Link with responses to dominance

Institutional bullying culture of the country coming from the public school culture

: Alport’s Scale)






Physical Attack



Criminal damage

Physical bullying



In employment, education,

access to housing, health

care, services, goods etc


Ignoring, excluding, invisilbilising, physical

withdrawal, not patronising businesses etc.


Bad-mouthing, spiteful gossiping, creating

negative myths about people, anti-jokes, verbal

abuse, stereotyping