Vulnerable teenager Will Filer suffered racial bullying in the months before his death, an inquest revealed this week.

His mother and stepfather Rachel and Ashley Higginson, of Oaklands, Chippenham, were devastated to discover the 18-year-old had faced almost daily abuse before taking his own life by hanging himself from a tree in Birds Marsh Woods on March 1.

Close friend Katrina Bennett revealed in a written statement to the coroner’s court that Will often became upset by racial comments made about him, and that he was being “called the ‘N’ word” on a regular basis.

Mrs Higginson, 40, said: “It wasn’t until we read the statements for the inquest that we found out what had been going on, and we were absolutely furious, upset and really shocked.

“What has the colour of someone’s skin got to do with who a person is? It does not change who they are.

“Will did not kill himself, he was bullied into it. Every one of those people who called him names drove him to this.”

“We have heard afterwards that he was getting a lot of abuse out there, and because he wasn’t confrontational he wouldn’t do anything.”

Will was diagnosed with learning difficulties as a child and studied at Rowdeford School in Devizes, where his parents do not believe he was treated any differently to other students. Mr Higginson said: “He was in an environment where that sort of thing was not allowed – if anything like that happened it would have been stamped straight out.

Mrs Higginson, who has two younger children, said they hope Will’s death will lead to a change in the way vulnerable adults are treated when they leave school.

“When he left Rowdeford Will was 16,” she said. “But he had the mental age of 11-and-a-half years. I have had a lot of issues with people not being able to tell me what he was going through because legally he was an adult.”

The teenager had confided in staff at the Amber Foundation in Trowbridge that he had thoughts of harming himself, but the data protection act would not allow the hostel to share this with his parents.

Speaking at the inquest on Tuesday assistant manager Steve Upton said Will had mentioned racial comments made to him, but as an adult he was left to deal with his issues under guidance from staff and counsellors.

Mr Higginson said: “There are so many young people who just become government statistics. They end up in prison, hospital, or in the same way as Will.

“He might have been 18 but he was so world-young. We don’t want him to end up as another statistic. We want something to change.”