A victim of online bullying has battled back against a troll who mocked his disabilities and urged him to commit suicide.
Simon Bradley, from Manchester, was subjected to a torrent of abuse from a woman he met on social media, receiving a series of sick messages that encouraged him to self-harm.
The 27-year-old, who suffers from a condition known as global neurological development delay, attempted to laugh off the messages, which became increasingly more vicious.
Eventually the troll repeatedly urged Simon to “kill himself”.
Simon decided to post images of the abuse he had received on his Facebook page – which alerted his family to the bullying he had suffered.
After reporting the abuse to the police, Joanne, 52, has now made the difficult decision to share the messages in the hope more can be done to prevent trolling.
Talking to Kennedy News & Media, Simon’s mother Joanna said: “I’m absolutely devastated.
“As a parent, I don’t think there’s any worse heartbreak than seeing your children being tormented, abused, mocked, put down, made to feel insignificant and different.
“Simon’s been bullied and had things said about him all his life. This has highlighted to me how vulnerable people are because they don’t [all] report it.
“We turn a blind eye far too much to what goes on online. Mocking somebody because they are disabled or look different is not acceptable.
“If it was her child, how would she feel? She has shown no remorse.”
Simon, who is described by his mother as “very, very trusting,” has been forced to deal with bullying throughout his life.
This latest attack has seriously impacted his confidence, with Simon now too ‘scared’ to use social media.
Even when Simon’s sister exposed the troll’s ‘derogatory’ messages online, the threats still continued – with the perpetrator even reacting with a laughing emoji to her post.
The incident has been reported to the police.
Anyone subjected to bullying can talk to The National Bullying Helpline – which has seen a rise in website visits in conjunction with increased social media use during lockdown.
Founder of NBH, Christine Pratt, said: “Around 3,000 people a day are looking at the National Bullying Helpline website, where a lot of them can self help.
“We’ve written a guide on what to do if you’re being bullied online by someone you know.
“We set out how [people] can go about putting their case together and how they can write professional letters to the abuser to ask them to desist.
“If the perpetrator continues the online abuse after they have received a desist notice then that does constitute harrassment under the Malicious Communications Act.
“For adults, the penalties incorporate up to six weeks imprisonment.
“A lot of people are in lockdown, communicating by phone and all these different apps, their life revolves around their mobile and computer.
“We do need to do much more to help the vulnerable online.”
Bullying affects over one million young people every year, and anyone can be bullied. Here’s what you can do if you’re being bullied.
You can also call the National Bullying Helpline on 0845 22 55 787.