Dad recounts ‘worst day of his life’
BYRON John has given an emotional account of the “worst day of his life”.
The father of Bradley John appeared alongside his stepmother, Kate Pickard, on ITV daytime programme This Morning, co-hosted by Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, this week.
He told them about Bradley’s life growing up with ADHD, and how it made him a “magnet” for bullies.
“He was certainly not ordinary – he dared to be different. He had an Xbox and spent very little time on it. He loved the outdoors – his horses, his quad bike. It was just about doing things.
“His ADHD would cause him to get frustrated; it would cause the occasional meltdown. I feel it also made him hypersensitive.
“He took things to heart. He was boisterous, but the ADHD was part of his make-up. He wanted everyone to love him. I think when people were nasty to him, he didn’t understand it. Children with ADHD are reactive. If the bullies get a reaction, that makes the victim a magnet.” Mr John recalled the day Bradley died. For Mr John, up to that point it had been a morning like any other.
“We got up as usual. There was the usual banter. He asked which vehicle we’d be taking to the bus stop, and I told him we were taking the Jeep. He ran across the yard, picked up a can of petrol and put it in the boot – he needed it for his quad bike. He tapped the roof and said ‘Don’t forget the petrol.’ Those were his last words.”
He said that later he had a text message from Bradley’s sister Danielle, 13, saying Bradley hadn’t turned up for one of his subjects. “I immediately thought that was strange. He wasn’t one for bunking off lessons. If he had a problem he would take himself to the toilet cubicles and ring me. This time he didn’t.”
Bradley was found and medical help summoned to the school.
“I had a telephone call from the head teacher. We got straight in the car – I admit to being reckless, as the 20-minute journey took seven minutes.”
Mr John commended the efforts of the emergency services personnel who tried in vain to save Bradley’s life.
“When we got there, the air ambulance, paramedics and doctors were incredible,” he said.
Byron John and stepmother Kate Pickard speak to Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on This Morning.