Support group helps father deal with loss

By Cherie Taylor

Les Pinkerton, whose daughter committed suicide, hopes to support other youth contemplating doing the same.

Mr Pinkerton's daughter, 17-year-old Micaela Pinkerton-Stothers took her life after drinking at a party in Tokoroa on July 24, 2011.

It was first believed she had been targeted by cyber bullying, after hateful messages were left on a Facebook page stating she had been pregnant and had an abortion.

Micaela appeared distressed by the postings, which she relayed to family and friends in the days before her death.

However, Rotorua Coroner Dr Wallace Bain found she had not been bullied after her best friend admitted to the court Micaela and he had set up the page and posted the messages themselves.

Last week, the coroner repeated calls for urgent laws controlling cyber and digital bullying to be introduced but stipulated Micaela had not been the subject of bullying.

Mr Pinkerton told The Daily Post he wasn't so sure his daughter had been involved in setting up the page as she was extremely upset by the comments left.

She isn't here to defend herself, he said.

"I don't agree [with the Coroner's findings] but have to accept it ... We don't really know who did it because Micaela isn't here to tell us."

Mr Pinkerton, who misses his daughter, said he was gaining support through a local suicide grief support group, which he attended every two weeks.

His dream is to be there for youth in the future so they know there is someone to talk to.

"The support group really helps. It's better than sitting around grieving all the time.

"I hope to help other kids so their parents don't have to go through this. It's horrible dealing with the death of a child."

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Judith Collins said she would be outlining new measures to curb cyber bullying within the next two weeks.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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