The father of a 13-year-old Clare teen and the school he attended have dismissed media reports and speculation that emerged over the weekend which suggested the teenager had taken his own life as a result of bullying, writes Gordon Deegan.
Conor Wilmot, a first year student at St Patrick’s Comprehensive School, Shannon, died on lands close to the family home last Thursday night.
Conor’s father said he was “absolutely certain” that his son did not intend to take his life.
Greg Wilmot, from Sixmilebridge in Co Clare, said his son died in because of a “choking game” he found on the internet.
He said reports the death was connected to him being bullied were incorrect and that Conor was a victim of “a stupid teenage accident gone wrong”.
In its statement, St Patrick Comprehensive School described Conor as “a hard working and happy student of the school. He was well liked and admired by his peers and the staff of the school”.
The statement said that the whole community community “is shocked and saddened” by Conor’s death.
The statement went on: “There has been some speculation on social media and in some media outlets regarding the circumstances of the tragedy. In particular there have been suggestions of bullying.
“This speculation is totally without foundation and represents an unwarranted intrusion into the grief of the family at this tragic time. School management and the school community as a whole are shocked and disappointed at such baseless unfounded.”
Conor’s sister Melanie, who turned 21 at the weekend, also refuted the speculation in a weekend Facebook post and the school included part of the text of her her post in its statement with her permission.
In her post, Melanie wrote: “This story is about my brother, my little brother. I can tell you he was not bullied, he was so happy with such a bright future and so many things he had planned. This story is wrong.
She went on: “I am horrified. We are trying to grieve and plan his funeral. It’s my birthday today and I wake up to see this story that can’t even get their facts straight. Please if you read this, don’t think this of my darling brother. Just remember he was such a happy, popular young man with lots of dreams for the future and it was a tragic accident x”.
The statement by the school concluded: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and the school is providing and will continue to provide all the necessary support to the family and the school community.”