A 12-year-old vegan schoolboy hung himself after bullies threw pieces of meat at him, an inquest heard.
Louie Tom Fenton was pronounced dead after he was found hanged in the bathroom at his home in Waterford, Hertfordshire on January 19.
Hertfordshire Coroner’s Court heard yesterday how Louie was bullied for his decision to go vegan at Richard Hale School, Hertford.
In a letter read out in court, his mother, Catherine Fenton, said: ‘He had been bullied regularly since he arrived at Richard Hale School.
Louie Tom Fenton (pictured left) was found dead in the bathroom at home in Waterford, Hertfordshire in January this year. He had been bullied at school for being vegan
‘He had regular appointments with the counsellor and he started self harming.
‘They threw meat at him in the canteen because he was a vegan.’
The court heard how he would have to go outside at lunchtimes to avoid the bullies and had started smoking heavily as a way of coping with the torment.
Despite his mother approaching the school several times, the bullying continued, she claimed.
The inquest heard there was no evidence that Louie had intended to kill himself, and that there was no suicide note found.
His father Graeme wrote to the coroner, telling him he did not believe his son meant to take his own life and was just ‘messing around’.
Louie was a member of the Hertford Sea Scouts, learning how to tie all the knots and knowing all their names.
The inquest heard the youngster (pictured) had to sit outside to avoid bullies and had began smoking heavily as a way of coping with the torment
Following his death his family set up a Justgiving page to raise money for the Sea Life Trust in his memory.
The page, which has collected £1,759.97 so far, reads: ‘It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Louie Tom Fenton who passed away on 19 January 2017.
‘He loved the sea and was deeply committed to conservation, the environment and sea life.
‘Instead of flowers for his memorial service, we know he would have preferred a contribution to this charity.’
Richard Hale School gave no evidence at yesterday’s hearing, but police notes from an interview with head teacher Stephen Neate were read out.
The notes confirmed Louie was a heavy smoker and hung around with older children.
Mrs Fenton added: ‘I’m concerned if he was being bullied to such an extent that he wanted to hang himself whether the school has done anything to tackle it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
‘I never had the feeling that Louie was so depressed that he wanted to die.’
The Fenton family has set up a fundraising page to raise money in memory of Louie (pictured left)’s love of the sea. So far they have raised £1,759 for the Sea Life Trust
Coroner for Hertfordshire, Geoffrey Sullivan, said he would write to the school to ensure their policies for dealing with bullying and self harming were up to date.
He said: ‘Given what you have said I shall write to the head teacher at the school to ask if policies are in place and up to date in respect of pupils who experience bullying and do self harm.’
MailOnline has approached Richard Hale School for comment.
Louie was due to go on a school ski trip in the weeks after his death.
His mother and father said he was excited about the holiday and had discussed who he wanted to share a room with.
Paying tribute to him, a statement from the Fenton family read: ‘Louie was a wonderful boy, much loved by family and friends alike.
‘He had wide ranging interests and was very passionate about them.
‘In some ways, he had wisdom and concerns way beyond his years, and in other ways he was a mischievous, enthusiastic boy to whom the world offered the opportunity of discovery and adventure.
Louie (pictured far right) was a member of the Hertford Sea Scouts. His family is raising money for the Sea Life Trust in his memory
‘Louie had a wonderful sense of humour and an infectious giggle.
‘On the day he died he had appeared excited by gifts he had received in the post, he mentioned a couple of issues at school but did not appear unduly troubled.
‘We feel his loss deeply, he made our lives better by being with us. He still had so much to offer.’
Commenting on an online memorial page, friend Joey Green said: ‘I was so sad to hear about Louie. I have lots of fun memories of him when we were little at Millmead.
‘I remember at the park you tought me to swing on a swing.
‘At lunch times we would meet by the toad stalls and chat, climb trees and laugh. I will always remember you like this.
‘My thoughts are with your friends and family. You will be missed X’
His aunt Lucy Roper said: ‘My lovely little Lou, I am going to miss you big time!
‘We had so many in-depth conversations about life – our love of sharks and the fact that they get a rough deal from most and should be appreciated more.
‘I could write for hours as you were such a character and there are many many lovely and funny stories to tell and remember you by.
‘I’ll never forget you Louie.
‘Always in my heart xox’
Mr Sullivan gave an open verdict at the conclusion of the inquest, ruling that he was not convinced that Louie meant to kill himself.
- If you or anyone you know is affected by issues in this article then contact the Samaritans on 116 123.