Brave Jackie Fox kissed daughter Nicole and held her hand as her life support was switched off one year ago today
A grieving mum has recalled how she kissed her daughter and held her hand as she died after years of bullying.
Nicole Fox, known as Coco, tragically took her own life after being subjected to horrific abuse and death threats.
The 21-year-old, who took an overdose, was pronounced dead at Tallaght Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, one year ago today.
Now, her heartbroken mother Jackie has revealed how she held her daughter’s hand as her life support was switched off.
She has also vowed that the death of her eldest child – whose ashes she keeps on a table beside her – will not be in vain.
And she has described proposed anti-bullying legislation named after the young woman as “bittersweet”, the Irish Sunday Mirror reports.
Brave Jackie has blazed a one-woman trail all the way to the Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish parliament, campaigning for new legislation around cyberbullying.
The legislation will be known as Coco’s Law, after Nicole.
In November, hundreds of people took to the streets to demand tougher laws against online harassment and abuse.
The mum’s determined action has also seen mobile phone firm Eir produce a new information leaflet that bears Nicole’s image and warns of the dangers of online bullying.
It will be handed out with every new phone bought through the company, with the initiative set to be launched on February 5 to coincide with Safer Internet Day 2019.
Jackie told the newspaper: “It’s bittersweet because, while I’m delighted they’re naming it after her and delighted it’s coming in, it’s not going to bring her back.
“It will be her legacy and her name will live on. Her nephew called her Coco when she was born and the name just stuck. She was our Coco bean.”
Nicole, from Clondalkin, West Dublin, was terrified to leave the house in the weeks before her death.
She received disgusting threats and taunts on a messenger group that she was a member of
She showed her shocked mum some of the messages, but wouldn’t report them to cops for fear of retaliation.
Jackie said: “She wasn’t into drink or drugs but she loved dancing so she refused to stop going to clubs. But they never gave her a minute’s peace.
“She was physically and mentally bullied for three years. They stubbed cigarettes out on her, they pulled her down the stairs by her hair in a nightclub.
“They punched her and kicked her in the face. The mental torture was worse. They made up a fake page to post abuse online, making out she was sleeping around.
“After they beat her up they said they would put her on a life support machine, and they got their wish because she did end up on life support. It was relentless.
“They told her, ‘Why don’t you kill yourself? Slit your wrists. Everybody hates you. Nobody wants you. Why are you still here?’ She just couldn’t take any more.”
When she was 18, Nicole was taken to hospital after taking an overdose of pills. Her life was saved during that incident in May 2016, but the bullying intensified.
Her mum recalled: “At her worst she was too scared to walk to the corner shop alone and I was anxious she might try to take her life again – though she insisted she wouldn’t.”
It was on January 18 last year that Jackie’s worst nightmare came true. She returned home to find Nicole barely breathing and dialled 999.
The young woman spent more than 24 hours on life support before passing away in the early hours of January 20.
Jackie said: “I just kissed her and held her hand. I’ll be looking at the clock and reliving it. We all cry every day. We’re broken. Her nan, aunties, uncles, brothers – we’re all shattered.
“I know a year has gone by but it still seems like yesterday. Yet in other ways it seems a lifetime since I’ve seen her face, or talked to her, or seen her smile.”
Nicole was cremated following her death.
Her mum said she couldn’t bear to “leave her up in a graveyard on her own in the cold, in the dark”.
Jackie said: “I have her ashes on the table here beside me, all her stuff beside it. We will all meet in my mam’s on Sunday, sing songs and release lanterns and balloons.
“I didn’t have a funeral Mass for her or bring her to the church. We booked the crematorium and everyone brought pink roses. The place was packed. If only she knew how much she was loved.”
Following her daughter’s death, Jackie has received invitations to speak publicly on cyberbullying suicide awareness.
She says she has also found support and solace through a Facebook page she set up, called Let’s Bring In Coco’s Law.
The page has drawn countless messages of support globally.
The mum told the Irish Sunday Mirror that she can’t help but monitor the online activity of her two sons, 19-year-old Dean and Lee, 15.
She added: “I am watching them. I can’t help it. I’m just so scared because I can’t go through something like that again.
“Nicole’s last text message to me was, ‘I love you’, with a heart. I’m doing all this for Nicole, so others don’t suffer the way she did.
“If I can’t have her here with me, then at least I can do this in her memory.”
If you need to speak to someone, Samaritans are available 24/7 by calling 116 123 or by emailing [email protected]