Mum's heartbreak over teen's cyber bullying death

A heartbroken mother has spoken for the first time about losing her teenage daughter to suicide after being cyber bullied.

Amanda Grennan grew up in a small town on the border of Victoria and NSW. She was 14 years old when she took her own life in August 2017.

Amanda's mum, Deb Langshaw, said she was bullied at school and suffered vicious online attacks when she got home.

"You go from having a little person that you can hold and tuck into bed to a wooden box," Ms Langshaw said.

Amanda Grennan and her mum Deb Langshaw. Source: Sunrise

Ms Langshaw described Amanda as the perfect child: smart, funny and thoughtful. But in 2017 the teen grew anxious.

She was physically harassed at school, which was made worse by vicious online attacks when she got home. It was all over a high school romance - Amanda had started a friendship with a boy and his ex-girlfriend became jealous.

The girl sent messages to Amanda's phone telling her she was a "waste of space" and telling her she was fat. The messages told the teen to kill herself.

Ms Langshaw said the messages were coming through non-stop.

"They don't have a break on weekends, they don't have a break when they get home from school, during school holidays," Ms Langshaw said.

"The night she took her life, there were messages being sent to her that night."

Amanda would delete the abusive messages and keep her torment a secret. She told a friend, "I don't drink enough water to cry this much".

Her mum said she often asked if her daughter was OK and Amanda would say, "No, it's fine mum. You don't need to worry about it".

Ms Langshaw said her daughter would deny she was being bullied. Source: Sunrise

Eventually, the suffering became too much. Ms Langshaw still remembers the last night she spent with her little girl.

"I tucked her in bed with a teddy as normal, gave her a kiss goodnight and told her I loved her to the moon and back," she said.

"And I don't know why but I gave her a second kiss and said, 'You know, if anything happened to you, it would kill me'. And she said, 'I know mum, you don't need to keep going on'."

Ms Langshaw worked as a nurse. She left for work early the next morning and during her lunchbreak received a phone call that Amanda wasn't at school.

She rushed home.

Ms Langshaw holds a picture of her daughter. Source: Sunrise

"As soon as I walked in I just knew. I just went into her room and I'd been at work all morning and I had no idea," she said.

"How do you not know your child's dead down the end of the hallway?"


'Bullies need to understand the devastation': Mum

Despite still feeling the pain at the loss of her daughter, Ms Langshaw has advice for parents and wants social media companies like Facebook to be more responsible for what's written on their sites.

"Follow your gut instinct if you think something's wrong," she said.

Amanda's mum described her as the perfect child. Source: Sunrise

"We have to look at their phones, we have to read their messages, we have to invade their privacy not because we can't trust our children. It's because we can't trust the people that are sending these messages."

"I drink-drive, I get caught. There's a consequence. But you can post whatever you want, you can say whatever you want and there's no consequence and I don't want revenge.

"I don't want to be vindictive - I just want there to be a consequence. If my little girl and I, by doing this, can just stop one family from losing a child, just one family, to go through the heartache that we are, then I've done her proud.

"Because I wouldn't wish this on anybody."

She also wants cyber bullies to understand the devastation that can cause.

"They don't know what it's like to sit on a lounge with a funeral director with a coloured brochure of coffins and you've got to pick a coffin for your baby girl," Ms Langshaw said.

"They don't know what it's like to walk in and see your child alone, dead in their room.

"It's just a constant hurt every minute of every day. I've lost my future with her, my dreams, seeing her turn 16 and 18. To be there as her mum to support her when she has her children, so I haven't just lost a child, I've lost everything I've dreamt up for her, simply because people are cruel.

"I just wish it would stop. It has to stop."

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.
Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
Mens Line Australia on 1300 78 99 78.
Multicultural Mental Health Australia
Local Aboriginal Medical Service