THE mother of a Rothesay man who was found dead at his home in the town last week has hit out at those responsible for spreading malicious rumours about her son’s death.
The body of 23-year-old Michael Riley was found at his flat in the town’s West Princes Street on Monday, January 17.
Within hours, rumours were being posted on Facebook that his death was the result of suicide or a drugs overdose.
But Michael’s mother, Izzy Kernaghan, has told The Buteman she is certain her son died of natural causes - and that she was “absolutely disgusted” at some of the speculation posted on the social networking site about the circumstances of his death.
“Michael was assaulted in Glasgow on November 25,” Izzy said. “He fell and hit his head, and he’d had screaming headaches ever since.
“On the Friday before he died, the headaches were really bad. On the Sunday, again they were really bad. Then on the Monday he went to sleep and he never woke up.”
A post-mortem examination of Michael’s body was due to be carried out on Wednesday, as this issue of The Buteman was going to press. But Izzy told us she was certain that the headaches being suffered by Michael in the weeks before his death were the result of bleeding caused by his being assaulted in November.
“People were gossiping about it on Facebook before I even knew my son was dead. My daughter walked into a shop and people were talking about what was supposed to have happened.
“It was all over the internet that he’d hanged himself or taken an overdose. I’m his mother, and I’m certain there was no foul play.
“There’s nothing I didn’t know about Michael. He shared everything with me. He was really open about his health and everything.”
Michael’s family have since taken his Facebook page offline. But Izzy said she wanted people to think about the effect the Rothesay ‘rumour mill’ could have on grieving families in the town.
“It’s happened before in Rothesay, when somebody else has died or got the jail - straight away people have started spreading rumours about what happened,” she continued.
“I’m so angry. I know so many people who have gone through this sort of thing and haven’t opened their mouths.
“I’ve got no idea why these rumours got started - none whatsoever. I don’t even think the person who started them knew.
But how could they do that? People should think before they start making stuff up. They don’t realise the hurt they’re causing. People like that have no morals, no scruples - nothing.
“It’s not just me that gets upset. It gets to the rest of Michael’s family, his friends and everybody who knew him.
“Rothesay’s just terrible for rumours. I’ve been living here for 30 years, and people don’t talk to you any more - they just talk about you.
“I want people to think about how much gossip like this hurts - about how much hurt they are causing to families with their down-and-out utter evil lies.”