The parents of a 20-year-old student who died by suicide last week because he had been bullied persistently over a period of years have shocked the Netherlands by publishing their son’s suicide note in a local newspaper along with his death notice.
The note which is accompanied by a large smiling picture of Tim Ribberink who was training to become a history teacher, reads: “Dear Mum and Dad, All my life I have been ridiculed, abused, bullied and excluded. You guys are fantastic. I hope you’re not angry. Until we meet again, Tim.”
Tim’s parents Gerrit and Hetty Ribberink, who say they were unaware until his suicide on Thursday that anything was amiss, have asked police to investigate his death – and in particular two fake messages posted online in his name which they hope will help identify the bullies.
The first of the two messages dates from 2010 when Tim was a second-level student. The second appeared online last summer and stated: “I am a loser and a homo.”
In the Ribberinks’ home village of Tilligte, east of Amsterdam, near the German border, a tearful farewell was held in the Catholic church last night. It was attended by hundreds of friends and wellwishers stunned by his death and angry at what led to it.