A man has said his 13-year-old son died because of a “choking game” he had found on the internet.
Greg Wilmot, from Sixmilebridge in Co Clare, said he was “absolutely certain” that Conor Wilmot did not intend to take his own life.
He said reports the death was connected to the boy being bullied were incorrect and that Conor was a victim of “a stupid teenage accident gone wrong” as part of the game. His body was found on lands behind the family’s home last Thursday.
“For all we know, it wasn’t the first time Conor did it and this time he didn’t get away with it,” he said. “The gardaí have taken away Conor’s phone and that will show his search history and that will tell us a story.”
Mr Wilmot said a laptop Conor had access to had also been taken away for examination. “I bet you they will find something to do with a choking game on his phone.”
Mr Wilmot said his son fit the profile of those who would get involved in such a game, adding; “high achievers often fall prey to this”.
Conor is survived by Mr Wilmot, his mother Irina, his sister Melanie (21) and brother Ross (10). His funeral mass takes place in Sixmilebridge on Tuesday.
Mr Wilmot said he was certain Conor had not intentionally taken his own life and his view “isn’t based on any speculation about what his mental state may or may not have been”.
“I found him and it is based around the position I found him in,” he said. “People need to know that because it makes a massive difference to know it was a stupid teenage accident gone wrong rather than him being unhappy or whatever.”
Mr Wilmot said he did not believe Conor had been involved in an online game called “Blue Whale”, in which participants are asked to carry out tasks over a 50-day period until they are eventually told to kill themselves. The game has been linked to a number of suicides in Russia.
“All of us when we were teenagers did some stupid, stupid things which could have gone wrong and none of us would be walking around and I think it was one of those stupid, stupid things that he decided to do that just went wrong,” he said.
Mr Wilmot described Conor as "brilliant", very popular with his classmates and a talented rugby player. He said his son was "quirky" and a fan of Dr Who and professional wrestling.
“There is nothing we could have done to stop him go out of the house and down to the land. I am not riddled with guilty over it. You can’t lock the doors,” he said. “It is not like we could have minded him more. Short of putting him under lock and key, there is nothing we could have done.”
Mr Wilmot said the problem in his son’s case was the internet, which was “their whole life for teens”.
“It is a misguided idea and a fantasy that parents can restrict access to the internet for teenagers because they will always find a way around it.”