Tragic schoolboy Ronan Hughes was being blackmailed by gang
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Tragic schoolboy Ronan Hughes was being blackmailed by gang

THE parents of tragic Tyrone teenager Ronan Hughes have revealed that a faceless gang was blackmailing him over intimate photographs he had posted online.

Gerard and Teresa Hughes have also slammed the PSNI, claiming police officers could have done more to prevent the death of their son.

The Hughes, from Clonoe, said their "quiet, happy-go-lucky" child had been tricked into sending images to a social network site after receiving pictures of a girl.

Mrs Hughes said her son, a pupil at St Joseph's Grammar School in Donaghmore, confided in her three days before he died.

"He gave me his phone. They were demanding more than £3,000 for an image he had posted and told him they were going to show it to all his friends.

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"They had sent him a list of all his Facebook friends. He texted them back to say 'but I'm only 17'."

Mr Hughes went to the PSNI in Dungannon but only one officer was on duty. He said there was not a lot he could do.

"I told him that all my son wanted is for these images not to be posted," he revealed this week.

The officer said he was unable to do this.

On the day that Ronan took his own life, he had called his mother saying that a friend had contacted him after receiving a link containing images, but the friend had not opened them.

Mr Hughes left work early to go home amid concerns how his son might react, where he found notes on the kitchen table and then discovered his son's body in a field behind their home.

The PSNI said it hoped to meet the Hughes family to discuss their concerns about its handling of the case.

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Detective Chief Superintendent Brian Hanna said: "This is a tragic case and our sympathies go to Ronan's family.”

He added that the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland was best placed to deal with any complaints.