Irish girl commits suicide over ‘red hair’ bullying

Helena Farrell
Helena Farrell

An Irish family are mourning the death of their teenage daughter who took her own life after being bullied because she had red hair.

Tragic Helena Farrell was born in Galway but moved to Cumbria in the north of England when she was a toddler. She was found dead in the woods near her home after killing herself at the age of 15 after being tormented for years by the bullies.

Helena Farrell
Helena Farrell

Her parents believe that she was bullied to death. Her father Enda told the Irish daily Mirror: “People need to realise that when they say the things they do, it can have deeply traumatising effects. It can lead to self-harm and suicide.

“Helena’s death was not just because of it, but the bullying she faced all her life certainly contributed.

“This is not just about hair, it’s a person that you are hurting. When a child dies in an accident it is a terrible thing.

“But when a child kills herself, as a parent you’re haunted by questions like ‘How did I not see it? How did I not realise that my daughter was so ill?’”

Luke Roberts of the UK Anti Bullying Alliance believes that the tragic case highlights the need for red headed people to be protected just as anyone who suffers other kinds of prejudice. He said: “For people with ginger hair, bullying seems to be acceptable, the norm.”

Enda wonders if things would have been different if the family had stayed in Ireland where anti-ginger bullying is far less common. He said: “I think if Helena had been raised in Ireland, people would have seen her as a beautiful child and treated her far differently.

“But for some reason this anti-ginger movement has developed over here.”