Bullies blamed after suicide of 'Emo' music fan

A teenager who followed the music and fashion movement known as Emo killed himself after being bullied "because of his style", his friends said yesterday.

Sam Leeson, 13, who wore black clothes and was a follower of the darkly emotional rock genre, was found hanging in his bedroom in Gloucester last Thursday.

Classmates and relatives said he was targeted online via his Bebo webpage because of his "alternative dress" and involvement with the emo scene.

Emo (which is short for emotional) music, is described as "punk with emotion", and has been made popular by bands like My Chemical Romance, whose album The Black Parade topped the charts.

Sam's mother, Sally Cope, said her son was a "huge" music fan with a taste for Emo-style bands, but that he also liked The Foo Fighters. She said: "He was into his appearance and often wore his black skinny jeans. He was an alternative dresser and I think other teenagers did make comments about that."

His oldest sister, Emma, 22, said: "We saw him as always happy and smiling but we now think there has been some name-calling about the Emo thing. We know some bullying has been going on and we are disgusted and angry about it. We do not want to attack the school as they have been very good, but we are very upset it has come to this."

Ms Cope, from Tredworth, called for social networking sites like Bebo to be more heavily vetted for malicious comments.

The suicide last month of 13-year-old Hannah Bond, from Kent, was widely linked with her being a follower of the Emo lifestyle. After her death, My Chemical Romance spoke out in defence of the genre, saying they were "anti-suicide" and pointing to the positive messages in their lyrics.

Peter Rowland, the head teacher at Severn Vale School, in Quedgeley, said Sam was a "wonderfully creative" boy who had never complained of bullying.

Two YouTube videos put together by friends in celebration of Sam's life carried a damning verdict on his tormenters. Interspersed with photos, one said: "Sam was a normal kid but because of his style he got bullied. Because of all the bullying Sam went through, it led to his death. You were a saint, Sam. We hope the bullies feel guilty for the rest of their time."

Another video, entitled R.I.P Sam Leeson and carrying pictures of the teenager as a young boy, said: "Sam was loved by everybody, don't know how anyone could bully him. Life was stolen. Bullies take a bow, coz you've taken everything else."

More than 100 goodbye messages and dozens of floral tributes were today heaped outside the gates of Severn Vale School. One read: "Miss you Sam. No one can hurt you now X."

Funeral arrangements have yet to be made.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine