The heartbroken mother of a teenager who took her own life after her father sexually abused her has opened up on her devastating loss.
Gemma Mckeown’s daughter Megan Reid, from Livingston in West Lothian, died on 5 April at the age of just 17.
Two years earlier, in 2019, her dad Joseph McGinn was convicted of sexually assaulting her.
McGinn’s vile abuse of Megan began in 2008, when she was just four years old.
But it wasn’t until Megan was 13, that she finally revealed the awful truth to her mum on Mother’s Day 2018 – a moment Gemma describes as ‘the biggest shock of her life’.
Speaking to the Record, Gemma, 34, said: “I felt like my whole world had come crashing in on top of me.
“I went into a total state of shock. It was terrible.
“I collapsed, I was sick. I picked up the phone straight away and reported it to the police.
“I was on my hands and knees screaming down the phone at them.”
McGinn was found guilty of sexually assaulting Megan at Glasgow High Court on 17 October 2019 and sentenced to 18 years.
But Gemma said that despite his conviction, her daughter was so ‘broken’ by the abuse she suffered that she was never able to come to terms with what she had been through.
The distraught mum also told how Megan was left ‘crushed’ by the reaction of some extended family members who had branded the teen a ‘liar’.
Gemma continued: “Megan was a good girl, but what happened to her left her crushed and broken.
“Knowing some people didn’t believe her left her feeling betrayed and abandoned.
“She would lie in her bed crying. She self-harmed and she was suicidal for a lot of the time.
“She was drinking to try to block it all out, but she couldn’t. Daily life was too much for her.
“All she wanted was to die.”
Gemma described Megan as a “bright, bubbly and intelligent” child who was her mum’s “best pal”.
She even told how Megan loved her mum so much that she begged her not to blame herself in her heartbreaking final words, penned in a suicide note.
Gemma said: “Megan was my favorite person on the planet. She was the reason I breathed. My best pal, my mini me, my everything.
“In her final note, she told me loved me and told me not to blame myself, but I am destroyed.”
Gemma said Celtic fan Megan had always dreamed of becoming a joiner and hopes that by sharing her story, she can help to save at least one other young person by encouraging those living with trauma to keep going and reach out to their loved ones for help.
“Megan had so much to live for and more support than she could ever have imagined,” Gemma added.
“I always wanted her to be open about her mental health and told her we could get through it together. Sadly it wasn’t enough but I want to help prevent other people from going through the same as her.
“My advice is that you’re never alone, please always speak up, go to someone and someone will listen.
“Please don’t leave your parents without you. Their lives never be the same.”
Since Megan’s passing, tributes have flooded in, including from Celtic Football Club who held a round of applause for the late teen before kick-off against St Johnstone on 9 April.
A gathering is also set to take place in Polson Park, Tranent on 23 April where friends and family will release sky lanterns and balloons in her memory.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Megan’s family with funeral costs and other expenses.
So far, it has reached an incredible £3,820.
If you would like to donate to Megan’s fundraiser, click here.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.