Schoolboy Ronan Hughes takes his own life after online bullying
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Schoolboy Ronan Hughes takes his own life after online bullying

A TYRONE schoolboy has taken his own life after being “tricked” into posting images onto a social networking site.

The 17-year-old, named locally as Ronan Hughes, was found dead in the Coole Road area of Coalisland on Friday, June 5.

Following his death the Police Service of Northern Ireland have issued advice to young people about the need for care when online.

Mid-Ulster district police commander Superintendent Mike Baird said: "Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of a 17-year-old schoolboy.

“Our enquiries into this tragedy are continuing, however, it is understood the schoolboy took his own life after he had been tricked into posting images on a social networking site.”

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Ronan, who attended St Joseph’s Grammar School in Donaghmore, is believed to have been the target of cyber bullies prior to his death, who intimidated him via the Skype online platform.

He had told his parents about the bullying and a complaint had been made to police, reports suggest.

The family’s parish priest Fr Benny Fee has blamed "faceless individuals" for intimidating the teenager, adding: "He did not take his own life. His life was taken by these faceless people who put the child into a burning building that he felt he could not escape."

The Clonoe O'Rahilly's Gaelic football club, where Ronan was a popular player, have also made a statement about the shock death of the “quiet young lad”.

"Ronan was a youth player, having played goalkeeper throughout his short youth career,” they said.

“He was a quiet and modest young lad who was popular among all players and coaches. His death has left a dark shadow hanging over our club."

PSNI officers have since spoken to pupils at schools in the area and offered advice about safe use of the internet and chatrooms.

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Superintendent Baird added: “Police are continuing to liaise with a number of statutory bodies and community representatives. Officers have spoken to pupils at a school in the area and offered advice regarding safe internet use and any type of virtual interaction including social media sites, chatrooms and through interactive games.”

He explained: “If anyone has experienced anything of a similar nature or has received any inappropriate images or links, it is important that they contact Police or tell a trusted adult. By doing this you will be helping prevent further such incidents. You will not get into trouble.

“We all deserve to be able to use the internet to learn, explore and connect with each other. But all of us need to be aware of the risks involved in doing so, especially on social media.”

A funeral service is due to be held today.