12yo kills himself after being bullied for being vegan

"They threw meat at him in the canteen because he was a vegan."
"They threw meat at him in the canteen because he was a vegan." Photo credit: Getty

A 12-year-old schoolboy killed himself after being bullied for being vegan, a UK inquest into his death has heard.

Louie Tom Fenton was found dead at his home in Waterford, Hertfordshire in January.

The coroner heard how he had been tormented for being vegan.

In a letter his mother wrote to the court, she described the bullying he had suffered.

"He had been bullied regularly since he arrived at Richard Hale School," Catherine Fenton said.

"He had regular appointments with the counsellor and he started self-harming. They threw meat at him in the canteen because he was a vegan."

Ms Fenton said she approached the school asking them to intervene, but the bullying continued.

"I'm concerned if he was being bullied to such an extent that he wanted to hang himself whether the school has done anything to tackle it and make sure it doesn't happen again," she said.

"I never had the feeling that Louie was so depressed that he wanted to die."

His father told the coroner he believed Louie had been just "messing around" and didn't mean to have killed himself.

Richard Hale School headmaster Stephen Neate told the MailOnline that while they were aware of the bullying, they had not been informed meat had been thrown at Louie.

"The whole school community was deeply shocked by the death of Louie Fenton in January 2017. Our feelings are, and have always been, with his family," he said.

"We were aware of concerns about Louie being unhappy at school and we were actively engaged with him and his family to address these issues.

"However, at no time were we made aware of the incident in which meat was allegedly thrown at Louie.

"This was never reported to the school by Louie or his mother, has not been substantiated by any member of staff at school or by any of Louie's friends in Year 9."

The coroner gave an open verdict, saying he didn't believe Louie meant to kill himself. He said he would approach the school to ensure they have the right policies in place to handle bullying.

"Given what you have said I shall write to the head teacher at the school to ask if policies are in place and up to date in respect of pupils who experience bullying and do self-harm," he said.

If you wish to talk to someone about mental illness or domestic violence, you can call Lifeline on 0800 543 354, the Depression Helpline on 0800 111 757 or the National Telehealth Service on 1737.