The body of a teenager found hanged in woodland in Lancashire has been revealed as 16-year-old Anthony Stubbs, a young father who had reportedly been bullied for being bisexual.
Stubbs told Ms Mason that he was going to visit his mother, Denise Machin, but instead vanished.
His body was found on 14 January, and a suicide note was found in the school bag near his body.
“Well, I’m gone but not completely,” it read. “I will be watching over you and making sure you make the right choices. And don’t forget me, I’m in heaven looking down. Please don’t grieve and try to move on as best you can, I love you all so very much.”
Ms Machin told the Sun that the note also encouraged his little brother to grow up “tough”, and said she worried Stubbs might feel insecure about his own perceived lack of toughness and confusion over his sexuality: “To me he always seemed to have camp mannerisms and I always had my suspicions he could be gay. He was still with Charlotte and I was worried he was confused about his sexuality.
She had broached the subject with her son after learning that his girlfriend was pregnant, and said that in response: “He shouted that he wasn’t gay and loved Charlotte, but eventually confessed he might be bisexual.”
Ms Machin said that Stubbs was bullied at school for his perceived sexuality, and Ms Mason also became a target.
“Anthony was getting bullied by girls for two years,” said Ms Machin. “He would get shouted ‘gay boy’ at, get slapped in the face, come home with his school jumper ripped and even got his phone stolen. He would be upset but pick himself up and go back the next day.”
“Charlotte would even be teased with people shouting things like, ‘You’re going out with a fa**ot’,” she added.
She said her son’s death had been a shock: “He was doing so well at school and looking forward to going to college. He wanted to get a good job and do everything he could for Lily and Charlotte.”
She added, “I think Anthony was very good at hiding how he really felt and making everyone believe he was OK.”
“I think his feelings for the same sex left him struggling to know what to do about it. I think it got on top of him — coping with these feelings, being a dad and being good to Charlotte.
“I think there should be someone in schools to support teenagers who may be going through this confusion.”