A heartbroken dad has reveled how his 16-year-old daughter was driven to suicide by years of bullying after coming out as gay. Devastated Adrian Derbyshire, 42, wants daughter Julia’s death to shine a light onto the brutal world of playground and online bullying.
He previously released a tragic photo of Julia on a ventilator in hospital – taken just minutes before she died – on what would have been her 18th birthday last week.
Now Mr Derbyshire, a two-time Paralympic medal winner, has revealed it was homophobic bullying that drove his daughter to suicide. Julia’s torment began after she confided in a friend that she was a lesbian who “might like girls” when she was 12.
But the so-called pal then spread the gossip around the school and Julia became the butt of vile jokes. Adrian says his daughter turned to self-harm and to deal with her bullying nightmare.
Julia was unable to escape her bullies even when she was away from school thanks to the internet. Speaking about his daughter’s plight, Adrian, of Warrington, Cheshire, said: “It all started when Julia was 12.
“She approached her best friend and said ‘I’m not sure yet but I think I like girls’.
“She was just exploring her sexuality and wanted to share it with her friend – but her friend told all the school and it started there.