When the news surfaced of Peaches Geldof’s tragic death, most people were quick to take to the web to pay tribute to a talented young woman taken way before her time.
Countless tributes and messages of sympathy poured in from the general public, keen to express their sadness at the passing of a young lady who had herself experienced great personal tragedy with the devastating death of her mother, the late Paula Yates.
There were also many kind-hearted words for her father, Bob Geldof, a man who has endured so much heartache in his life and who has now suffered one of life’s greatest injustices: outliving one of his children. And equally, for her husband and two infant sons that have survived her.
However, there was also a considerably large element that saw it as an opportunity to attack her name at a time when sadly, she is not – and will never be again – able to speak out and defend herself.
These callous individuals were quick to pour scorn on the well-wishers’ messages, with many speculating that Geldof’s sudden and unexplained death was as a result of the use of drugs.
One individual even said: “No sympathy until it is proved that it is not drugs”, despite the fact that there is no evidence to suggest that the use of drugs was involved and that the basis of this theory comes from a time in her life that Geldof had fought long and hard to leave in the past.
And that Geldof’s last act on Twitter was to post a picture of her and the mother that was taken from her as an 11-year-old, pointing to signs of possible suicide, having seemingly never quite recovered from this traumatic loss.
There is also a certain amount of hypocrisy involved on the part of these cynics. For many of the purveyors of this vitriol fall within a certain demographic of males aged around 18-35. Males who will pay homage in death to men like George Best, someone who in the form of liver transplants was afforded many chances to overcome his addiction to alcohol before it ultimately cost him his life.
And what if the post-mortem does eventually conclude that her death was as a result of drug use?
Does a young lady deserve this level of posthumous abuse, simply because of who she was and whether she succumbed to an addiction she had long tried to leave behind?
Or do two young boys deserve to grow-up without knowing the mother that doted on them so caringly in their infancy?
The simple answer to these questions is, of course, no. Unfortunately, this sentiment is seemingly lost on the swathes of trolls trawling the internet behind their keyboards.
I once believed that speaking ill of the dead was hugely frowned upon, unforgivable even. Or if not, at least reserved for those that had committed the most heinous and unspeakable acts. Certainly not for a 25-year-old mother-of-two.