A 16-year-old was repeatedly bullied online over her sexuality before she killed herself, her father has said.
Julia Derbyshire was 12 years old when she said to her friend: ‘I’m not sure yet but I think I like girls.’
Her ‘friend’ then spread her feelings around school, and Julia was subjected to vile bullying.
Four years later she hanged herself.
Adrian Derbyshire, 42, has released photos of his daughter on a ventilator in hospital to raise awareness of playground and online bullying.
‘She was spat on, there was name calling. It was physical as well as psychological,’ he said.
‘It escalated and Julia started self-harming to cope with the bullies.
‘But she couldn’t get away with it as she was being bullied in her own bedroom because of the internet.’
While Julia was born in Warrington, England, the family moved to Missouri in America and she lived there from four to 14.
But following the breakdown of the marriage, and when Derbyshire found out his daughter’s bullying, he moved Julia back to England.
The bullies continued to abuse her online.
‘She had just turned 14 and she came over very damaged. The first thing I did was show her unconditional love,’ Derbyshire added.
‘She wanted to speak to [the bullies] and get them to like her for who she was.
‘We gave her the confidence to go back to the haters to stick up for herself and others – but it was too much too soon.
‘I did not have long enough and if we had a couple more years she would have got through this.’
Father and daughter shared a pizza together and watched a film the night before Julia attempted to take her own life in October 2015.
The next morning, Derbyshire discovered his daughter collapsed.
While he tried to save her by giving her CPR until the ambulance arrived, she died five days later in hospital.
He released the hospital images on what would have been Julia’s 18th birthday on 8 March. It is only this week he revealed his daughter’s sexuality.
Derbyshire says he received over 10,000 messages around the world, including 900 emails and has been in contact with a United Nations representative.
‘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,’ he said.
‘No parent, family or friend should ever go through the devastation and loss I have – we all have.’