Police probe 'web blackmail' death

Police are investigating claims a teenager killed himself after being blackmailed online

Police are investigating claims a teenager killed himself after being blackmailed online

First published in National News © by

Police are investigating claims that a teenager killed himself because he was being blackmailed online.

Daniel Perry, 17, is thought to have fallen victim to a scam where internet users are lured into webcam chats and then blackmailed with the footage. The teenager is said to have believed he was talking to an American girl on Skype but was told by blackmailers that the conversations had been recorded and would be shared with friends and family unless he paid up.

Daniel, from Dunfermline in Fife, died on July 15 after falling from the Forth Road Bridge. Police Scotland confirmed that officers are investigating the circumstances surrounding his death and urged anyone experiencing cyberbullying to report it.

It has also been reported that the teenager had previously been urged to commit suicide by anonymous users on the social media website Ask.fm about three months before he died.

The case follows that of 14-year-old Hannah Smith in Leicestershire, who took her own life after she was allegedly bullied online. The operators of Ask.fm have been criticised for not doing enough to prevent abuse.

Daniel's mother, who asked not to be named, told newspapers that she wants to make other children and parents aware of the dangers. She said she wished she could tell him that "nothing is ever that bad that you have to kill yourself" and "that nothing is worth taking your own life over".

She added that, when she feels strong enough, she wants to do something to prevent this happening to other young people.

Aileen Campbell, Scotland's minister for young people, offered her sympathies to Daniel's family and said bullying in any form is "absolutely unacceptable". She said: "Modern technology offers great opportunities for education and communication but its misuse can be utterly devastating to those targeted and their families. Laws already exist to prosecute people for illegal behaviour online and our sympathies go out to the family of the teenager from West Fife.

"As well as making it easier to report online abuse, we need to educate parents and other adults around internet use. People need to know where to turn for advice and who will support them if they need to take action."

Daniel's funeral was held at Dunfermline Crematorium and money was raised for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.


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