Boy from Yorkshire took his own life after being told to kill himself on anonymous social media app

A teenage boy was found hanged after being sent "vile" messages from an anonymous user on social media called "Ihatepeople" telling him to kill himself, an inquest heard.

The boy was found hanged, the inquest heard
The boy was found hanged, the inquest heard

"Cheeky, funny, mischievious" George Hessay, 15, was found in the bedroom of his home in Rawcliffe, near Goole, East Yorkshire in May 2017.

An inquest in Hull heard that the teenager left a note saying how low he felt "and he has nothing to offer this world."

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Just a fortnight before the tragedy, the Snaith School pupil had set up an account on the Estonian-based website sayat.me and was sent "vile and rather disgusting" messages telling him "to go and take his own life, go and hang himself."

The inquest heard the talented youngster, who was was learning Dutch and had built himself a computer, had also been taking the drug roaccutane to treat acne, which has been linked to depression and thoughts of self harm and suicide, although that had stopped some time before his death.

In the early hours of April 27 2017 he created the account on Sayat.me, with the other user Ihatepeople setting up the same day.

They then exchanged messages on the app - set up to allow "honest feedback" about consumer goods but quickly evolving into a vehicle for cyber-bullying among schoolchildren - until six days before George's death on May 10 2017.

Humberside Police contacted the "horrified" website owners in Estonia, who immediately shut the site down.

But officers were unable to track down the sender of the "derogatory" messages, because data was only held by the site for 12 months.

However Detective Constable Stephen Jewell told the hearing in Hull that he believed the sender may not have personally known George but would have known him through the Internet.

Detectives were only able to see the messages from Ihatepeople, with only one of George's responses found, which read: "Is this the best you can do? Is this all you've got?"

Coroner Prof Paul Marks said the content was "unconscionable and something that no normal civilised human being would send to another person."

He added: "The effect that might have had on George will have been devastating given what we know now."

Prof Marks said he would be making an official report about the mood change noticed by George's father Michael after the youngster was prescribed roaccutane around the age of 13 and a half to 14, after other treatments failed. Prof Marks said the youngster "appeared to become mildly depressed".

He had stopped taking the drug - whose "rare" side effects include thoughts of self-harm and suicide - some time before his death.

Concluding that the youngster had died by suicide, Prof Marks said he found the "disturbing" messages "materially contributed" in an adverse way to George's state of mind.

He said: "Sadly this is yet another case that has come to court where the abuse of social media has led to a tragic outcome."

On roaccutane he said George was not taking the drug as far as they could establish at the time he took his life, but "whether taking this drug may have predisposed him to substantial bouts of depression we cannot and may never know."

Following his death hundreds packed into St James’ Church in Rawcliffe, near Goole, to celebrate the youngster's life.

A circular bench was installed under a tree nearby which had become a focus for people's grief.

George's family declined to comment.

In a statement to the BBC earlier this year manufacturer Roche said while roaccutane had side-effects - "like most medications... millions of patients worldwide have benefited from taking the drug".

It added: "Isotretinoin was a prescription-only medicine and therefore can only be safely used under the care and supervision of suitably qualified healthcare professionals.

"This way, specialists with the most experience can advise patients about the important safety issues associated with isotretinoin."

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