Teenage gamer, 19, was ‘bullied to death’ after ‘trolls taunted him on his Xbox’

Teenage gamer, 19, was found hanged in his room by his mother after trolls ‘bullied him to death’ on his Xbox over ‘naked photos of him online’

  • Student Joel Crockett was found dead in his bedroom in Liverpool in April
  • His mother believes he had been hounded by trolls through his Xbox
  • She thinks the bullies were pressuring him to pay them a large sum of money
  • Police have arrested another teenager over his death. Investigation continues 

By Richard Spillett for MailOnline

Published: 10:06 BST, 2 September 2019 | Updated: 11:25 BST, 2 September 2019

A teenager was found hanged in his room by his mother after naked images of him were allegedly shared online and trolls taunted him through his Xbox.

College student Joel Crockett, who had Asperger’s syndrome and learning difficulties, was found dead at his home in Liverpool in April this year by his mother Ruth, 52.

Ms Crockett has now told how 19-year-old Joel, who had been studying drama, was blackmailed and taunted relentlessly through his Xbox after nude images of him were circulated online in November last year. She says her son was ‘bullied to death’.

Joel Crockett (left) was found dead in his bedroom earlier this year. His mother Ruth Crockett (right) says he was ‘bullied to death’

Joel, pictured with his grandmother, died following what his mother has called a campaign of bullying through his Xbox

Mother-of-four Ms Crockett said: ‘Joel was vulnerable. He was conned and bullied into buying games, he set up overdrafts and credit cards, just things that were really out of character for him that would play on his mind.

‘I went into the bedroom one day and Joel said a boy from school was sharing naked photos but he said they weren’t of him and I didn’t need to worry.

‘It turned out they were but he seemed to be able to deal with it.

‘Three days before he passed away, I heard him being taunted through the Xbox, been called names like “c**t”.’

‘Towards the end, I noticed signs of low moods but never did I think he would kill himself. He was quieter than usual and he was sleeping a lot.

‘The day before he did what he did, we went to see a friend who’d just had a baby, it was a time of celebration and he was just down but that week he’d started going to the gym, like he was ready to pull himself together again.’

Joel’s mother released these touching pictures of him as a baby and little boy as she campaigns to raise awareness of the issues surrounding his death

She added: ‘I would have run to the end of the earth and back to protect him, I would have gone straight to the police if I knew how bad it had become for Joel.’

Ms Crockett said that, three days before Joel’s death, he asked her for a ‘lump sum of money’ but she’d refused to give it to him.

She now believes he may have been blackmailed over the photos online and via his Xbox.

She said: ‘He never told me what it was for, looking back now I think maybe he was being blackmailed for this photos.

‘We were going to Spain in a few weeks so I said no. Looking back, I should have just given Joel the money.’

Mrs Crockett, pictured beside her son’s grave, wants tougher laws to deal with online bullies

Ms Crockett now hopes the law will be changed so that evidence is easier to obtain if someone is abused over a games console.

She said: ‘Anyone can come into your game and pull you apart and there is absolutely no evidence so they get away with it.

‘Someone can make you feel horrible and there’s absolutely no way to prove it. Death by suicide rips your heart out. I just wanted Joel to be happy, if he laughed, if he smiled, I was happy.’

Mrs Crockett, with the Xbox she says allowed bullies to contact her son

Ms Crockett now hopes the law will be changed so that evidence is easier to obtain if someone is abused over a games console.

She said: ‘Anyone can come into your game and pull you apart and there is absolutely no evidence so they get away with it.

‘Someone can make you feel horrible and there’s absolutely no way to prove it.

‘Death by suicide rips your heart out. I just wanted Joel to be happy, if he laughed, if he smiled, I was happy.’

An inquest into Joel’s death was initially opened and adjourned earlier this year with the full inquest set to take place this November.

An 18-year-old was arrested over his death last month and has been released under investigation.

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details. 

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