Sam, who met Prince Harry when his blind dad competed at Invictus Games last May, was bullied on Snapchat because of his good grades.
The prize-winning student died after falling from the roof of the supermarket car park in Worcester. Asides social media, he also got bullied in real life. School bullies hid his school books from him, punctured his water bottle, calling him a “snitch” when he confided in teachers. Sam decided to take his life and even confided in close friends that he wanted to die to prove a point.
The deceased’s parents, Mark and Anita Abel, have said that their son’s death will haunt them for the rest of their lives. An inquest heard how Sam had shared text messages with friends about his depression and suicidal thoughts before taking his life on January 8. Sam, who was a pupil at Tudor Grange Academy School, suffered name calling, pranks, and physical abuse before the bullies took to social media and bombarded him with cruel messages via snap chat and Facebook messenger on a daily basis.
Sam’s dad, Mark said: “Snapchat messages only last seconds but when you’re getting those messages constantly, the seconds add up and they broke him down in the end. It started as individuals but I think more people joined in with taunting him when it developed into cyber bullying. We will never know how serious those messages were because the police cannot get access to the messages due to encryption. It obviously got that bad that it pushed him over the edge. He had no escape from them because it wasn’t just at school anymore. It was online and offline and on and off the playground. They probably thrived off it or got a kick out of it.”
Mark and Anita describe how their son was first bullied in primary school, in year 6, but that they were unaware that things had gotten worse.
Mark said: “He kept a lot to himself and what he did share we acted upon. We knew about the bullying but we visited the school several times and were told they were acting on it. He did a good job of hiding everything and put up a front and we assumed everything was fine. He suffered in silence. You put measures in place to make sure your kids are safe but they even bullied him for wearing a crash yellow crash helmet and jacket.”
The teenager excelled in business and had dreams of becoming the next Alan Sugar, having already set up two successful Youtube channels, reviewing products for the shopping site, Amazon.
Anita said: “He loved school and loved learning. He just hated the people who were there. We were looking forward to his exams next year. We won’t get to seem him go to his prom or have driving lesson and we are devastated by the verdict at the inquest. We will never get over this.”
Sam’s parents reminisced on happier times, recalling when he had been watching volleyball with his father and Prince Harry came and sat next to them. His father said it was one of the high points in Sam’s life.
Mark said: “Sam was thrilled to have met a Prince and it was great to see him happy for once.”