Saturday, September 12, 2020

Vulnerable Teenager Took His Own Life After Naked Photos Of Him Were Shared Online

Joel Crockett-Devine, 19, asked his mum for money in an apparent effort to pay those who tormented him with messages urging him to 'die'. He was found dead in his Wavertree bedroom three days later.





A 'vulnerable' teenager took his own life after naked pictures of him were shared online, an inquest has heard.


'Vulnerable' teenager Joel Crockett-Devine took his own life.


Joel Crockett-Devine, 19, was also sent sick messages urging him to "die", which prompted him to ask his mum for money in an apparent effort to pay those tormenting him.

The talented teenager asked for the cash three days before he died, Liverpool Coroner's Court was told.

Coroner's officer Elaine Jordan described how budding actor Joel was autistic, had Asperger's Syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder and Harlequin Syndrome, Liverpool Echo reports.

The inquest heard that the evening before he died, Joel had been out with his mum, Ruth Crockett, to see friends.



Joel was autistic, had Asperger's Syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder and Harlequin Syndrome, the inquest was told.


They returned home to Wavertree at 9.30pm, on April 25, 2019, and it was noticed how the teenager was in "good spirits."

Elaine Jordan told how Joel went to his bedroom, which was not unusual as he was an "introvert" and a "gamer."

The next day, it had reached 3pm and the former Bank View High School pupil had not emerged from his room, so mum Ruth went to check.

The 53-year-old found him dead.

In May, police were informed by Joel's mum that private photos had been sent to many of the 19-year-old's school friends, which "might have had an effect" on his mood, she said.



Joel had been out with his month Ruth the night before he died.


A man, 18, from Lancaster, but previously stated as being from Croxteth by police, was arrested and questioned by detectives.

He was quizzed over an offence of disclosing private sexual photographs with intent to cause distress and a second offence of doing an act capable of encouraging or assisting suicide.

Following a review of all the evidence, the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was insufficient evidence to take the case to court.

Coroner Anita Bhardwaj told the hearing in Kirkdale: "There are issues of people disclosing intimate photographs and videos on social media.

"There are a number of people involved here.

"In terms of evidence, there's no proof anybody assisted or encouraged the act which Joel carried out."


Detective Sergeant Richard Shillitoe, of Merseyside Police, said: "You've got to prove at the time of sending, it was to cause someone distress and that was the difficult part."


Joel was found dead in his bedroom on April 26, 2019.


Asked by the coroner to describe her son, Ms Crockett said: "He was just an amazing person, he had a heart of gold and would have done anything for anyone.

"He had loads of friends, he was loved in college, in school, at home.

"He was successful at drama and was going to do sports science in September.

"He had OCD, but that was mainly to do with Dr Who and he loved Liverpool Football Club as he was a fanatical Red.

"Joel was highly intelligent and left school with lots of GCSEs, he triumphed over his learning difficulties and was able to mix with anyone.

"People fell in love with him, that's who he was."



Joel was described as an 'amazing person' by his mum Ruth.
In response to the closed police investigation, Ms Crockett added: "I'd like to emphasise the dangers of showing naked images, it wreaked havoc with Joel's mind, completely."


Coroner Bhardwaj said: "It is unclear what was in Joel's mind and if he intended to commit self-harm, but it is likely these [photos and messages] influenced him and played a part in his decision making to carry out the act.

"When carrying out the act, he did intend to take his own life."

Ms Bhardwaj recorded a conclusion of suicide.


She added: "It is a tragic loss of somebody so young who likely had a bright future in front of him."

A Merseyside Police spokesman said: "In 2019, we arrested an 18-year-old man on suspicion of disclosing private images with intent to cause distress.


"The matter was investigated and a file was prepared for the Crown Prosecution Service who reviewed the evidence and decided there was insufficient evidence to charge.

"The arrested man was released with no further charge. The investigation was concluded and the matter was referred to HM Coroner."