DCSIMG

Now online trolls target sister of suicide victim

Hannah Smiths father David and sister Jo, 16, who says she is receiving abuse as they prepare for Hannahs funeral. Picture: PA

Hannah Smiths father David and sister Jo, 16, who says she is receiving abuse as they prepare for Hannahs funeral. Picture: PA

  • by ANGUS HOWARTH
 

The sister of a cyberbullying victim is struggling to cope after being targeted by online abuse in the wake of the teenager’s death, it has been reported.

Hannah Smith, 14, from Lutterworth in Leicestershire, killed herself on Friday after being bullied on website Ask.fm, her father Dave said.

Her sister Jo, 16, has revealed she is now being subjected to the same taunts her sister was as they prepare for her funeral.

“I’ve just lost my sister and now I’ve got to deal with getting abuse myself,” she said.

“These trolls don’t care what happened to Hannah or what we’re going through, they just live in their sad little worlds.

“It’s really upsetting. I’m struggling to cope with what’s happened and don’t need these trolls hounding me.”

Jo described her sister as “a beautiful person and so full of life and love”.

Mr Smith said his daughter was found dead in her bedroom by Jo.

Website Ask.fm has described Hannah’s death as a “true tragedy” and promised to work with police investigating the incident.

The question-and-answer site allows users to send messages to one another without their identity being disclosed.

Although users have to register an e-mail address, name and date of birth, those posting messages can choose to do so anonymously.

A spokeswoman for Ask.fm said in a statement: “Hannah Smith’s death is a true tragedy; we would like to convey our deepest condolences to her family and friends.

“We have reached out to the Leicestershire police and would be happy to co-operate with their investigation into the true circumstances of her suicide.

“Ask.fm actively encourages our users and their parents to report any incidents of bullying, either by using the in-site reporting button or via our contact page.

“All reports are read by our team of moderators to ensure that genuine concerns are heard and acted upon immediately – and we always remove content reported to us that violates our terms of service.”

Mr Smith, 45, a lorry driver, called on Prime Minister David Cameron to put regulations in place on social networking websites such as Ask.fm to try to prevent another tragedy.

He is urging the authorities to close down the site, and those like it, after stumbling across cruel taunts from so-called trolls which he said had driven his daughter to take her own life. He said: “Websites like this are bullying websites because people can be anonymous.

“If I had not spoken up about this, another teenager could be dead next week.

“Ask.fm and sites like these are making millions out of people’s misery and it is wrong.

“I would appeal to David Cameron as a prime minister and a father to look at this to make sure these sites are properly regulated so bullying of vulnerable people like my daughter cannot take place.

“I don’t want other parents to go through what I am going through.”

Hannah’s father described his devastation over his daughter’s death, who many described as popular and bright.

He said: “We sleep downstairs now, we don’t have a bedtime. Since this happened, I have only had three hours’ sleep a night.

“I want this to be sorted out as soon as possible so no other vulnerable children die.

“For Hannah to do something like this… we never expected this. We never saw any signs of her doing this.”

 
 
 

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