Hanged boy was bullied, says father

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The Independent Online
A 12-YEAR-OLD boy hanged himself with his brother's school tie because he was being bullied, his father alleged yesterday. Stephen Woodhall was found hanging from banisters at his home in Birmingham by his sister, Emma, aged seven.

Ken Woodhall, 42, Stephen's father, said that boys at his son's school had threatened to break Stephen's arms and legs unless he gave them money.

Stephen returned from school on Friday and went to change out of his school uniform at his home in Montague Road, Smethwick,

Mr Woodhall said: 'My little daughter went upstairs and I heard her shout 'Dad, Stephen's hanging'. I was choked with panic. I sprinted upstairs and found Stephen with a tie around his neck. I fumbled to get it off him. I carried him downstairs and started to give him mouth-to-mouth.'

Paramedical staff from Birmingham Accident Hospital spent more than an hour trying to revive Stephen, but he was dead by the time he reached hospital.

Mr Woodhall said that his son, unhappy since Ken broke up with his wife at Christmas, had been bullied at Shireland High School, Waterloo Road, Smethwick, and had been involved in a fight.

Mr Woodhall said: 'He must have been going through hell but I just didn't know. He had only been at the school for about eight months and hated it. He wouldn't tell me a lot but I knew he was being bullied. Some of the kids had threatened to break his arm and leg if he didn't bring them pounds 1 into school the next day.

'Another time they took his dinner off him as he was eating it. I went to the shops with him one day and they got him. They made him give them 10p, ten lousy pence and it was causing him all this suffering. Steven was a fighter but he didn't say a lot about things. He would bottle it up instead.'

Stephen's brother, Anthony, 15, said that Stephen had been bullied constantly since starting at the school.

Tarsim King, chairman of the council's education committee, said: 'I have already spoken to the chairman of the governing body and the head teacher and asked them to call a meeting urgently. Obviously, on top of that we will investigate from the department as well. As far as Shireland School goes . . . we have had no problem before this incident.'

(Photograph omitted)