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In just one week, Casey Heynes went from having one friend to 230,000. The 16-year-old Sydney boy became a global Internet sensation after he was filmed picking up a bully in the schoolyard and throwing him to the ground after being repeatedly punched in the face for being "overweight''.
During an interview with A Current Affair , Casey said he had been bullied almost every day at school and even contemplated suicide a year ago when the taunts became too much.
"I started putting myself down and all the crap just kept piling on,'' he said.
"That's when I contemplated suicide.''
A Year 10 student at Chifley College, St Marys, Casey said he was being targeted by a new gang of Year Seven students last Monday when he was attacked by Ritchard Gale. Standing up against the wall with nowhere to move, Casey was punched repeatedly by Ritchard until he snapped - lifting the Year Seven bully over his shoulders and throwing him to the ground.
The footage was captured by another student, who filmed the incident on his mobile phone and then posted it on YouTube. Casey said his outburst was a "build-up'' of more than three years of being attacked verbally and physically by other students.
"They used to slap me on the back of the head and said I was a fatty and to lose some weight.
"I've been duct taped to a pole before as well. They target me because I don't retaliate.
"I've never reacted that way before but everything built up inside me for three years.
..I just had enough. All I wanted is for it to stop.''
His celebrity status peaked once again after his interview last night, with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter - which have more than 230,000 followers - labelling him "a hero''.
One blogger, Wayne McCoy, said minutes after the television interview: "You have inspired a lot of kids who have and are being bullied. you have changed lives. well done mate. hopefully the bullies will learn their lesson.''
Others, like Aidan Blackley, said: "Good on ya!!! ur a legend''.
Casey said he had been overwhelmed by the amount of people who backed him after last week's footage went viral.
"I've never had so much support before,'' he said.
"Nobody touches me and teases me anymore.''
Both Casey and Ritchard were suspended by the school following the incident, as well as the student who filmed it on their mobile phone.
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