Boy, 14, found hanging after being bullied because loved horseriding

Huntmaster’s son, 14, was found hanging in school toilets by his younger sister after being bullied for years because he loved horseriding, inquest hears

  • Bradley John, 14, died in 2018 at St John Lloyd Roman Catholic School in Llanelli
  • Sister 12, rushed to the toilets after hearing Bradley had failed to attend a class
  • Paramedics battled to save him for an hour and a half, but the boy tragically died 
  • Bradley was a star pupil at an equestrian centre run by Olympic show jumper 

A 14-year-old schoolboy found hanging in the school toilets was bullied for years because he loved horseriding, an inquest heard.

Talented horserider Bradley John, 14, died in 2018 after going missing from lessons at St John Lloyd Roman Catholic School in Llanelli, South Wales.

His younger sister, then aged just 12, rushed to the toilets after hearing Bradley had failed to attend a class. It was there that the youngster would regularly seek solace from bullies.

Paramedics battled to save him for an hour and a half, but the boy tragically died. 

Bradley – the son of a huntmaster – was a star pupil at an equestrian centre run by Olympic show jumper David Broome. This lead to ‘horrific’ bullying at school, an inquest heard. 

His love for riding saw him become friends with Queen guitarist Brian May who he met during a campaign for cruelty-free hunting.

Bradley’s father Byron John, 56 – Master of the Carmarthenshire Hunt until fox hunting was banned in the UK – told the hearing: ‘Other boys tormented Bradley because he rode horses.

‘After competing in an event I remember him saying: “I’m here while they are at home on their X-Boxes. They are losers”.’ 

Talented horserider Bradley John, 14, (pictured) died in 2018 after going missing from lessons at St John Lloyd Roman Catholic School in Llanelli, South Wales

Bradley’s father Byron John, 56 – Master of the Carmarthenshire Hunt (pictured together) until fox hunting was banned in the UK – told the hearing: ‘Other boys tormented Bradley because he rode horses’ 

The hearing was told Bradley preferred adult company and was bullied because of his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Pupils spat in his dinner and poured salt and vinegar over his food at meal breaks.

He was sexually assaulted, beaten up and had his mobile phone and clothes stolen on the school bus, the inquest heard. 

Mr John told the hearing: ‘It was horrific. We were trying to get through to Bradley that if he managed his reaction differently the bullies would get fed up and move on.’

Bradley was in a good mood when he arrived at St John Lloyd Comprehensive Catholic School in Llanelli, South Wales, on September 12, 2018.

But he went missing from lessons and was found in the toilet block by his younger sister – who cannot be named for legal reasons – and a member of school staff. 

The sister could hear her brother’s phone ringing on the other side of the door as the family made frantic calls to find him. 

He was absent for an hour and 10 minutes before the alarm was raised. 

Paramedics battled to save him for an hour and a half, but the boy (pictured) tragically died

Mr John told how he had a phone call from headteacher Ashley Howells saying Bradley had tried to take his own life and paramedics were with him.

In tears father-of-two Mr John said: ‘There was a heavy presence of medics and police at the school – we weren’t allowed to see him but I insisted.

‘I told the medics: “Don’t stop.” I just wanted him to open his eyes or move his hand.’

The inquest heard Bradley was desperate to leave the school and his father had made 104 calls to the teaching staff over his concerns about his son’s treatment.

Mr John (pictured holding a photo of his son) told how he had a phone call from headteacher Ashley Howells saying Bradley had tried to take his own life and paramedics were with him

Coroner’s officer Malcolm Thompson told the hearing: ‘Bradley had been diagnosed with ADHD and as a result was a target for bullying behaviour.

‘He was subjected to bullying incidents at St John Lloyd and at times would react verbally.’

Brian May, 73, attended Bradley’s funeral where he described him as a ‘fine young man.’

The inquest, in Llanelli, continues.

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