Bullied son 'lost that spark' before suicide: father
Matthew Coutts, ctvtoronto.ca
Published Thursday, September 29, 2011 5:19PM EDT
The father of a young boy with muscular dystrophy who committed suicide after being bullied and robbed said his son was afraid to return to school after the attack.
Eleven-year-old Mitchell Wilson, who suffered from muscular dystrophy, was attacked in November while out on a walk through his Pickering, Ont. neighbourhood.
His face and teeth were smashed into the pavement and an iPhone he had borrowed from his father was stolen.
Wilson was found dead in his bedroom on Sept. 6 – on the morning he was to start a new school year and one day after he was subpoenaed to testify against his alleged attacker.
Craig Wilson said his son felt tormented by bullies at school who picked on him because of disability.
He said his son grew uncharacteristically moody and irritable after the attack and stopped going on walks that doctors had said would help stave off the effects of muscular dystrophy.
"Subsequent to the beating that he took, he just lost that spark you see in a kid's eye. He had huge anxiety attacks about going outside and going for his walks and going to school by himself," Craig Wilson told CTV Canada AM on Thursday.
"He was OK when he was with someone, but being alone was not a good thing for him. His vulnerability was really brought to the surface, and how easily he could be taken advantage of physically."
A court appearance by a 12-year-old boy accused of bullying Mitchell was delayed on Wednesday after the Crown said it wasn't ready to proceed so soon after the victim's suicide.
With no one to testify at the trial, it appeared the charge of assault would be dropped. The delay will now give the Crown consider other ways to enter Wilson's evidence onto the record.
A new trial date has been set for Monday, Nov. 21.
Wilson said his son was in shock for days after the attack. When he finally came to understand what had happened he was embarrassed, and told his father he was ashamed he hadn't been able to defend himself against his attacker.
"He came to me and said, ‘I couldn't do anything to stop him, dad. I wanted to but I couldn't do anything,'" Wilson said. "He was saying sorry to me."
Days before his son's death, Wilson spoke with him about the upcoming school year. Mitchell assured his father he was ready to "give it a go" and said he would have no trouble making new friends. But Wilson says he now believes his son had no intention to return to school.
"I think he had sort of already come to peace with it, days before or weeks before. I don't know. But it's hard to think of it," he said.