A heart-broken father has lashed out at bullies who hounded his 17-year-old daughter Gabrielle Meyrick, who died suddenly on Sunday.
Doug Meyrick was speaking before a crowd of about 270 family, friends and classmates of his daughter at her funeral at the Rosewood Funeral Home in Masterton yesterday.
He began his tribute to Gabrielle, a senior student at Makoura College, by taking her mobile phone from his pocket and warning that he had read the bullying text messages contained on the device. "I'm very serious about what's going on here. I know about the hate mails. I know what's been said. I know. Stop this or I'll stop it," he said.
Mr Meyrick said he had spent a wonderful day on Sunday with his daughter at the Masterton home they shared but was now desperately alone. "We had an awesome day on Sunday, a great day, ... but did you hear my heart break that night?"
The funeral service was conducted by Barry Sims, who said Gabrielle's manner of death must not be portrayed "as something heroic, when what happened was a heart-wrenching tragedy".
Makoura College principal Tom Hullena echoed the sentiment, saying the "indescribable pain" felt by her friends, family and extended family "cannot be celebrated".
More than 30 students and staff from the school joined with Mr Hullena in a waiata and boys from the college performed a haka.
Her father said Gabrielle, an animal-lover and keen gymnast and tennis player, had confided in him before her death about being the target of bullies. He and her mother Jasmine had often reported their daughter absent, or taxied her from the school, because she could not face her tormentors.
Other family members later told the Times-Age there had been a Facebook page titled "I hate Gabby Meyrick", which has now been deleted.
Senior Sergeant Carolyn Watson said police had taken Gabrielle's phone, which was routine in similar cases. She said police had viewed relevant Facebook pages and found "nothing on there to cause concern".
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