BULLYING is being looked at as a possible factor in the death of an Ellesmere Port teenager.
Dean Bennett, 16, who had special educational needs as a youngster, was last seen at about 4pm on Sunday after visiting his grandmother near the National Waterways Museum.
But his family’s hopes of finding him alive were dashed when police discovered his body in nearby woodland just after 5pm the next day.
More than 1,500 people have so far joined a memorial page on social networking site Facebook, where comments have been posted saying that Dean had been subjected to bullying.
Though not able to comment on the rumours, Kevin McDermott, principal at Dean’s former school the University of Chester Church of England Academy, paid tribute to him, saying: “It is absolutely devastating when one so young as Dean is lost to us.
“Dean was a student at the academy, where he formed a close friendship with other students; he was popular amongst students and staff alike.
“He achieved success in his GCSEs (seven grade Cs including English and mathematics) and was excited about the forensics course he was due to start.
“He was a remarkable, unique young man who was passionate about books and literature.
“Dean, his friends and his family are in our thoughts and our prayers during this difficult time.”
Cheshire Constabulary was also unable to comment on the bullying rumours, but a spokesman said: “Police continue to examine the circumstances surrounding the death of Dean and are providing support to his family at this difficult time.”
Dean’s family are struggling to come to terms with his death, but said they were dealing with it ‘as best we can’.