A teenager was found hanged in his room by his heartbroken mother after he was allegedly bullied by trolls through his Xbox.

Joel Crockett, 19, was found dead at his home in Liverpool in April by his mum Ruth, 52.

Ruth claims her son, who had Asperger’s syndrome and learning difficulties, was blackmailed and taunted relentlessly by trolls through his Xbox after nude images of him were circulated online in November last year.

The mum-of-four said: “Joel was bullied to death, yet bullying isn’t a crime.

“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.

“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.”

Ruth believes her son may have been blackmailed over the photos through his Xbox after he asked her for a ‘lump sum of money’ just three days before.

She refused to give it to him but now regrets not doing so.

The former carer 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.”

Joel had due to start studying sports science at college this September after quitting a drama course in November last year.

Since his death, Ruth has suffered with PTSD, and has been forced to quit her job as a carer and move in with her mother, Therese, after she was left with a ‘gaping hole’ in her life.

She said: “I’ve been on medication. The trauma is horrendous. He was the only dependent I had left with me.

“It has tipped my life upside down. The loss of him is just horrific but hopefully I’ll get justice, that’s all I’m praying for now.

“He was a beautiful character, he wouldn’t harm a fly. He wanted to be loved and he was, he didn’t realise how loved he was but he was adored.

“Everywhere he went he made an impact on people’s lives.

“He had Asperger’s and learning difficulties but he was so approachable. He was full of love. He was innocent and pure, he wasn’t streetwise, he was sheltered.

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By Ian Dei

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