A mother has called for a ban on suicide websites after an inquest heard that her son researched how to take his own life on the web after suffering homophobic bullying.
Ayden Keenan-Olson, 14, was found dead in his bed by his father, Tim Olson, at the family home in Colchester, Essex, on 14 March. He had taken an overdose of prescription drugs and left two suicide notes outlining the homophobic and racist bullying he had experienced at the Philip Morant School, an inquest in Chelmsford heard.
After his death, Ayden’s mother, the author and prominent child abuse campaigner Shy Keenan, said he had been “bullied to death”.
A police investigation found that, in the month leading up to his death, Ayden had bypassed settings on his computer to research suicide methods on the internet.
Mrs Keenan told the inquest yesterday: “My job is to protect kids online but I could not keep my own son safe.”
Essex coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded that Ayden’s death was the result of suicide but said it was not her job to attribute blame.
Referring to suicide websites, she said: “The court regrets the influence that such sites have on young people.”
The inquest heard Ayden had attempted to take his own life six months earlier and the family believe he took prescription drugs from home and hid them at school.
The school’s headteacher confirmed Ayden reported up to 20 incidents of bullying since joining the school.
Breaking down in tears during her evidence Mrs Keenan said her son had been the target of violence and malicious allegations because pupils believed he was gay and because he was part-Japanese. Shortly before Christmas he told his family he thought he was gay. His mother said: “He said he was gay and had found somebody he thought he loved but it was not reciprocated. We didn’t care, we just loved him whatever.
“After Christmas it was like talking to a different boy– since he was able to say out loud to people that he was gay.”
She described Ayden as a sensitive child and a keen musician who had planned to start his own anti-bullying campaign.