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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Teen killed himself in Maryport after receiving Facebook threats - inquest

A teenager killed himself after receiving violent threats from another boy on Facebook, an inquest heard.

Callum Chapman

 

A teenager killed himself after receiving violent threats from another boy on Facebook, an inquest heard.

 

Callum William Moody-Chapman, 17, was visiting family in Maryport in December last year when he went missing on December 15.

He was found dead on a beach near Maryport Golf Club two days later.

Assistant coroner Simon Ward heard that early on the morning he went missing Callum, of Beverley Close, Holton-le-Clay, Grimsby, had a Facebook conversation with a boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in a row over a girl.

In the messages the boy threatened to stab Callum and set fire to his father Kevin’s house.

The inquest heard that Callum had phoned his brother Robert in tears in the early hours of December 15, soon after receiving the threats.

With wind and waves in the background, he apologised for messing up his life and other people’s and asked Robert to tell his baby daughter Poppy that her uncle loved her.

He added: “I have to phone dad and tell him I love him. Give Poppy a kiss from me.”

Then Callum phoned his dad Kevin, crying and apologising.

Kevin Chapman said: “All I can remember is at the end of it he said, ‘Maryport pier looks lovely from here’. Then he said, ‘dad’ and I said ‘What’s the matter?’ and he said ‘I love you’.”

Mr Chapman agreed to travel to Maryport, where he grew up, from Holton-le-Clay, the next morning so they could talk about what was worrying Callum.

He added: “I honestly thought I’d calmed him down.”

When Callum did not return to his aunt Jeanette’s house, relatives set out to look for him.

Police and Maryport Inshore Rescue joined the search.

Callum’s body was found by walker David Huddart two days later.

A post-mortem examination showed he had died from immersion in water.

The inquest heard that Callum had arrived in Maryport to visit his grandmother Sandra Chapman on December 6 with Kevin, Robert, Robert's partner Jemma and baby Poppy.

When the others went home three days later, Callum asked his aunt if he could stay, offering to do decorating for her.

He later asked if he could live there if he got a job in the town.

In a statement, Robert Chapman said: “I believe Callum chose to stay in Maryport to avoid trouble.”

The inquest heard that Callum seemed okay during the week he had stayed with his aunt but was upset on the night of December 14 after phone conversations with the girl.

The inquest heard that Callum had received threatening messages from the boy for about a month before his death.

The boy had previously headbutted Callum over the same girl.

When he heard Callum was missing, the boy sent messages that said: “I have no contacts in your area. Please tell him I won’t hurt him.”

The 17-year-old has since admitted assault and an offence under the Malicious Communication Act.

He was given an eight-month referral order.

Callum’s parents paid tribute to their caring son.

Nichola Moody said: “We weren’t like mother and son, we were like halves of each other.

“If anybody needed help he’d be the first one there. He had the biggest, bluest eyes and he just won you over.”

Kevin Chapman said: “I used to call him the class clown. He was just a happy-go-lucky cheeky chappy.

“It’s devastated us. We don’t wish this on anybody. You don’t think you’re going to go through it.”

Mr Ward said it was commendable that he had not retaliated, either to the boy’s headbutt or to the Facebook threats.

Concluding that Callum had killed himself, Mr Ward added: “It’s clear to me that Callum was being harassed. It’s all too easy with social media these days to pursue a campaign like that, sometimes with terrible consequences.”

After the inquest, Callum’s parents said they hoped to help launch a campaign about cyber bullying and encouraged anyone affected by it not to suffer in silence.

Mr Chapman said: “If they can’t talk to family members speak to each other of find somebody like Childline. If you’re being bullied done take it on your own.

“I just hope the story gets out to people of how bad cyber bullying is becoming.

“We’ll never ever forget Callum, God love him.”

Ms Moody added: “You don’t want to hear that anybody’s child committed suicide.”

 

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