chatroom users egged man to kill himself
March 24, 2007 7:16pm CST
Chatroom users 'egged on father to kill himself live on webcam' 23.03.07 Add your view A father-of-two hanged himself live over the internet in Britain's first 'cyber suicide'. Kevin Whitrick, 42, took his life after being goaded by dozens of chatroom users from across the world who initially believed he was play acting. But as they watched in horror, Mr Whitrick climbed onto a chair, smashed through a ceiling and then hanged himself with a piece of rope. Kevin Neil Whitrick, 42, was found dead by police in Wellington, after being alerted by a web user who is thought to have watched in horror as the man harmed himself Stunned by what they had witnessed - broadcast on a popular chatroom website used by millions of people across the globe - chatroom users immediately contacted the police. Officers rushed to the electrician's home in the Wellington area of Shropshire within minutes, smashing down the door to try to save him. Kevin Whitrick had two 12-year-olds who he visited regularly But despite their efforts to save him, he was pronounced dead at the scene. Last night it emerged that Mr Whitrick had been suffering from depression after being badly injured in a car crash last year. Friends said that the breakdown of his marriage with wife, Paula - with whom he had 12-year-old twins - and the recent death of his father had also been causing him some distress. Mr Whitrick told users of web-chat site PalTalk what he was going to do two hours before he killed himself on Wednesday night. He was logged on with around 50 other users to a special "insult" chatroom where people "have a go at each other". Today distraught users of the site said that they felt sick and had previously thought the web broadcast was a hoax. They confirmed Mr Whitrick told friends in the internet chat room of his plans to kill himself but, thinking he was joking, they egged him on telling him to make sure the his webcam was on. Mr Whitrick, using the user-name Shyboy-17-1, switched on his webcam and went ahead with his grisly plan. One anonymous user said: "He tied a rope around an uncovered ceiling joist and stood on the chair as he tied the rope around his neck. "Some of us chatroom users, talking to Kevin over text chat, microphones and video tried to convince him to step down, but others egged him on telling him to get on with it. "We just couldn't believe he was doing it - it was surreal. "One chatter said: 'F***ing do it, get on with it, get it round your neck. For F***'s sake he can't even do this properly'." Another user who did not wish to be named said: "When Kevin stepped off the chair and was left dangling, the mood in the chatroom changed and people began to realise what they had just seen. "We started asking if anyone knew where he lived and saying they should contact the police. "I think someone contacted the police in their local area but sadly no one could get to him in time." Shortly after, moderators on the site closed the feed from Kevin's webcam. 'Considerate and kind' Mr Whitrick had been living in his flat, a converted house, after splitting from his wife Paula two years ago. The couple, who married in 1988, had 12-year-old twins Lewis and Melissa who live with their mother in a three-bedroom, semi-detached home close by. They are said to have visited their dad, who worked at family firm RMW electrical services in Shrewsbury, at weekends. His older brother Malcolm Whitrick is an associate director at Shrewsbury Town Football Club. Last night Mrs Whitrick said: "Kevin was a loving father and family man. He was always the life and soul of the party, an extremely considerate and kind person and loved by many, he will be so sadly missed by us all. "Unfortunately Kevin had a very serious car accident in July 2006 and had never fully recovered back to full health." Mr Whitrick's stepmother Betty Whitrick, 74, told the Mail: 'Kevin was a bubbly kind of person, full of fun. I just don't know why he would do this. "He lived alone but he always cheerful when I saw him. I knew he was very into computers and he also used to like playing bowls." Detective Chief Inspector Jon Groves who is leading the investigation said: "Our enquiries to date have revealed that Mr Whitrick was using a chat room with a number of other people at the time of his death. "We are liasing with the internet service provider at this time to contact other users who were online at the time of this incident and who may have information that could assist our enquiries. "We are also working to ensure that witness support facilities are available to those who may have been affected by what they saw." Sharon Atwal, who works in a cornershop opposite Mr Whitrick's flat, described him as "subdued" the last time she saw him. She said: "Every night he'd take eight cans of Boddington's bitter from the fridge and re-stock it with the cans from the shelf. He always seemed quite cheerful. "On Wednesday night, though, he didn't seem himself and it was the first night that he did not re-stock the fridge. It was as if he knew he wouldn't be coming back. "He always struck me as very happy, he was friendly and had two perfect kids. I cannot believe he has done this." Her brother Bobby added: "Kevin has lived in the flat for the past year and I have seen him every day without fail. "Last week, he told me about his chat room. He was excited and said he had set it up himself. He said he had been speaking to people in Australia on his webcam. "His two children used to visit at weekends. He had a very good relationship with them and always gave them lots of money to buy sweets." The case appears to echo that of Brandon Vedas, a 21 year-old from Phoenix, Arizona, who committed suicide online using a mix of alcohol and prescription medication. In that case people in the chat room egged the young man on, while others tried desperately to find his address. Local MP for the Wrekin, Mark Pritchard, said: "This is a very sad and rare incident. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. "It is important that the use of the internet in this death is fully investigated."
1 person likes this
25 Mar 07
Although I find this sick and hard to believe I dont think anyone on the chat line is responsible for that just because they said do it. I believe that man was at the end of his rope and just went out in a way that he'll always be remebered. It is sick how everyone rode him to do it but how can words make someone do something so horrible. Its definitley a sad story.