'Vulnerable' teenager took his own life after naked photos leaked online

A talented teenager took his own life shortly after naked pictures of him were shared online, an inquest heard.

Joel Crockett-Devine, 19, received a flurry of offensive messages including some urging him to ‘die’.

Three days before his death in April 2019, Joel asked his mum Ruth for money in an apparent effort to pay those tormenting him.

Elaine Jordan, the coroner’s officer at his inquest in Liverpool, described how budding actor Joel was autistic, had Asperger’s Syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder and Harlequin Syndrome.

The court heard that on the evening before his death, Joel had been out with his mum and friends and had seemed to be in ‘good spirits’.

At 9.30pm, they returned to their home in Wavertree, Liverpool, where Joel went to his bedroom. The coroner’s officer said this was not an unusual action as he was a ‘gamer’ and an ‘introvert’.

At 3pm the following day, Joel had not emerged from his room so his mum went to check on him and tragically found him dead.

The following month, she informed the police about the intimate photos that had been shared online, which ‘might have had an effect’ on his mood.

A man, 18, from Lancaster, was arrested and questioned 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: ‘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.’

When asked to describe her son, Ms Crockett praised him for his warm personality and academic skills, describing him as ‘an amazing person’ with a ‘heart of gold’.

She said: ‘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.’

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