Cruel hackers block Shaun Cole's mother on Facebook

CRUEL hackers blocked a grieving mum from accessing her tragic son's Facebook page '“ on the second anniversary of his death.

Thursday, 6th April 2017, 8:13 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:56 pm
Shaun Cole with his mother, Michele Beattie.

Soldier Shaun Cole, 22, died two years ago while he was on holiday with friends in Florida, just days after he’d returned from a tour of Sierra Leone with the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

He was found dead in the street hours after attending the Ultra Music Festival in 
Miami.

His mum Michele Beattie, 54, has kept the Facebook page open to remember her precious son – and tried to log in to share news of friends completing a skydive in his honour in Abu Dhabi.

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Funeral of Shaun Cole at Colinton Parish Church. Picture; Ian Georgeson

But after failing to find his page while others could, she soon learned that malicious internet trolls had taken over and blocked her – along with Shaun’s dad and sister – from access.

Michele said she had no idea who would hack into the page, as she insisted that no-one had Shaun’s passwords.

Michele, who lives in East Lothian, said: “That page has a million memories on there for me.

“For someone to do this to us, on the very day of the second anniversary of Shaun’s death, is just devastating.

Funeral of Shaun Cole at Colinton Parish Church. PIcture; Ian Georgeson

“Shaun had a very large network of friends – many of whom still pine for him. It was comforting for them still to be able to tag him in posts.”

Michele contacted Facebook to plead for help – but all the social-networking giant could do was preserve the page as a memorial, preventing others from editing it.

She said: “I used to enjoy looking at the photos on there, and re-reading messages Shaun had sent me on Mother’s Day and things. He was a mummy’s boy and we were so close.

“It feels like he’s been gone forever, but at the same time it just feels like yesterday it all happened.”

Funeral of Shaun Cole at Colinton Parish Church. Picture; Ian Georgeson

It was only after the Evening News stepped in last night and contacted Facebook that she was finally unblocked.

“I hope our story raises awareness for other families that have lost loved ones and made the decision to keep their Facebook page open,” Michele said. “I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

Shaun, a former pupil of Tynecastle High School, was found dead on a pavement near to his hotel in March 2015.

It was originally thought the soldier had been the victim of a hit-and-run after becoming separated from his friends at the festival.

Funeral of Shaun Cole at Colinton Parish Church. PIcture; Ian Georgeson

But it later emerged that a CCTV camera on a nearby traffic light caught him falling to the ground from a two-storey building.

Hundreds of mourners attended his funeral, which was held at Colinton Parish Church.