Mother reveals tragic story of her son,14, who hanged himself from a tree after being 'thrown out of class'
Almost five years after her 14-yr-old son Derek was found dead, hanging from a tree in his schoolyard, mother Kristina Wray still looks for answers as to what really happened.
Five years after 14-year-old Derek Brundrett took his own life outside his school in Pembrokeshire, Wales, heartbreaking details have emerged as his mother reveals he 'wandered around the corridors' of his school alone before hanging himself from a tree. Derek was reportedly 'thrown out' of a science class, for refusing to remove a non-uniform hoodie. He was then found by a friend who had gone to look for him after the alarm was raised in the school that he had gone missing.
In a recent, emotional interview with Wales Online, Derek's mother Kristina Wray revealed the heartbreaking details surrounding her son's untimely and tragic death. Kristina said officers visited her home after calling her and she thought that her son, who she knew was prone to violent outbursts, had done something wrong.
"I've never had a feeling like it; it was like someone had ripped my heart out," Kristina said, after learning about the tragic news. "I remember being upstairs and thinking I was going to die right there and then from a broken heart. I actually prayed - for the first time in my whole life I prayed that I would have the strength to carry on. Not for me, but for my other two boys," she recalled.
Derek's death in the school grounds was just days before the building was to close for Christmas holidays in 2013. An investigation into his death is underway and, approaching the fifth anniversary of his death, Kristina has been told to expect an email with results before Christmas.
A spokesman for Pembrokeshire council said a child's death 'is a matter of great concern and sadness no matter what the circumstances in which it occurred'.
Kristina revealed that Derek's troubled past and struggles with his mental health and bullying after her "good boy" suddenly changed at age 12 and his behavior became increasingly erratic. "He became aggressive and I just couldn't handle him anymore. In 2011 I phoned social services because I didn't know where else to go," she said.
Derek reportedly went into care and started to attend the Pupil Referral Unit in Neyland, a learning center designed for young people with more complex needs, but his condition didn't improve in the care unit. At one point he even scaled the building and even threatened to commit suicide. Derek came home in September 2013 but after an incident involving his mother and one of his brothers, he was sent back into care.
Kristina revealed that she received a call from her "deeply unhappy" son the day before he took his own life. "I didn't sleep a wink that night," the mother recalled. "I actually slept next to my two other boys because I could just feel that something was very wrong."
"The following morning at around 8.30 am I called the school, trying to get someone to pass a message onto his social worker to say that Derek was really unhappy," she said. But unfortunately, just hours after the phone call, Derek was found hanging from a tree just a few yards from the school's receptionist's office.
Kristina revealed how she rang up social services in fits of anger after they "let her son down", saying: "If they had spoken with him the night before like I did they would have realized that something like this could happen."
Kristina is still waiting for answers, with the inquest yet to be concluded, but it is hoped an outcome will be revealed at a hearing in the new year, with Kristina adding: 'I've been told I'll be notified by e-mail before Christmas."
At a previous inquest hearing, the head of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services at Hywel Dda Health Board said the system had been inadequate but that improvements had since been made. She said they would have probably "taken him on referral and made an assessment" if they had known about Derek's behavior.
Kristina has started a petition calling for what is known as an Article 2 inquest - an enhanced inquest held in cases where the state or its agents have "failed to protect the deceased against a human threat or other risk".