THE 15-year-old victim of a ‘deeply disturbing’ cyber-bullying campaign has come face-to-face with her tormentors who were forced to apologise.

Police arrested two 16-year-old girls who were behind the ‘devious’ three month plot to trick the teenager into believing she had a boyfriend.

When they tried to kill off the cruel Facebook relationship with a hoax suicide it led to 2,000 people joining an online tribute site.

Today the girl, from Blackburn, said: “I cried because I was shocked, gutted and scared.

"I was grieving for someone who wasn’t real and felt I had been so gullible.”

Experienced police officers said they had never investigated a case like it and it served as a ‘harsh lesson’ in the dangers of online bullying.

Sgt Paul Schofield said: “These two girls created this ‘legend’ using a handsome fellow and playing a silly game trying to hurt the other girl with this ‘relationship’.

“When all is said and done this is online bullying. Social networking is a fantastic tool, but it can be misused by a small percentage of people.”

The Blackburn teen said she thought she was involved with 16-year-old ‘Jaydon Rothwell’.

In fact, he was made up because the victim had once had a relationship with one of the 16-year-olds former boyfriends.

‘Jaydon’s suicide’ on social networking site Facebook, caught the attention of thousands of local youngsters and social services and Lancashire Police got involved.

It was claimed the 16-year-old had killed himself with a cocktail of drink and drugs after his girlfriend accused him of being unfaithful.

But officers ruled that out as there had been no reports of sudden deaths in the area and they later established the two 16-year-old girls were behind the ruse.

At a ‘restorative justice’ meeting organised by the police, the victim has now received an apology from the girls and their parents.

She said her ordeal began in December when she got a friend request on her Facebook profile from ‘Jaydon Rothwell’, who she described as ‘very attractive’.

They started exchanging messages, texts and arranged to meet, but when he failed to show she said she was breaking off the relationship because he had let her down.

Then one Friday night she was drinking with friends at a Blackburn park when they introduced her to ‘Jaydon’.

The girl said it was dark, she was drunk and he looked similar to his Facebook picture. They kissed and she went home delighted.

She said: “I wasn’t in love, but I said I was and did have strong feelings for him.”

The hoax then grew more sinister on Wednesday, February 23, when the girl saw a message on Jaydon’s Facebook profile from another girl and replied, ‘What’s this about?’.

Just after midnight, she got a message saying he had committed suicide.

Threatening phone calls, texts and Facebook messages then began from those behind the hoax - and those also taken in by rumours of Jaydon’s ‘suicide’.

By Friday, 2,000 people had paid tribute to the imaginary teenage boy.

Between abusive calls blaming her for the suicide, the girl was frantically trying to speak to his ‘relatives’ to go and see him.

Then came the knock on the door from the police.

The girl’s mum said: “The officers said ‘You need to sit down, there’s no dead boy’.

“My first thought was that my daughter had been groomed by a paedophile because the police were asking ‘has she ever met this boy?’.

She thought she had, but that was all part of the hoax.

“They had put so much effort into it. This was months of continuous make-believe. It took us a while to grasp what was going on.”

The girl said: “The police said they had tracked two girls down who were behind all this.

"When they told me their names I was shocked because one of them was supposed to be my friend.

“It started to click and I just felt so messed up.”

Her mum said: “It sounds ridiculous, but as stupid as she feels, so do I. It’s a very sick prank which had a lot of people very worried that a child was out there who needed help.

“It is very clever for teenagers and just shows how the world is changing. My daughter has a heart of gold but you cannot be that trusting these days.

“This has been a threatening, online bullying campaign against her just for their amusement and has wasted a lot of police time. She wasn’t the only one taken in by it all - a lot of people have been a victim of this malicious act.”

During, the hour-long restorative justice meeting, which was filmed for future police training, the parents of the girls behind the hoax said the were ‘deeply sorry’ and ‘disgusted’ by their daughters actions, and the girls themselves apologised after hearing from their victim the impact it had on her life.

Sergeant Paul Schofield, who led the investigation, said youngsters and parents had to be aware of the dangers of cyber bullying.

He said: “It was a prank which went very wrong and snowballed out of control.

"They tried to kill this person off and it backfired, attracting significant attention on Facebook.

“This could have been so much worse because there was a real possibility she could have reacted to the news of his suicide.

“The victim and her mother acknowledge that they’ve been quite lucky. It is a valuable lesson for all involved.

“People are so willing to give their personal details to people they don’t really know and it can come back to haunt you.

“It was sophisticated, I’m not aware of anything ike this being done before.

"It was an eye-opener for the police and a warning to parents to be intrusive - some people aren’t who they say they are.”

National charity Childline said it had also dealt with cyber bullying cases.

"These take the form of people creating fake profiles on social networking sites or leaving abusive messages on profles for others to see.

"It advises that this is breaking the law and for victims to report it.

All sites relating to ‘Jaydon Rothwell’ have now been deleted.

A spokesman for Facebook said: “Facebook is a place for real friendship and we encourage people to think carefully about who they add as a friend.”