Dead man's parents seek suicide chatroom inquiry

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The Independent Online

The parents of a 20-year-old man who discovered their son had logged on to internet suicide chatrooms before taking his life demanded a Home Office investigation yesterday.

Phillip Cranmer's parents, Barbara and Roy Boffey, demanded the prosecution of individuals running the sites, which are not regulated.

"I don't think Phillip would have had the knowledge and the support to have done what he did had it not been for the chatrooms," Mr Boffey, a retired teacher and hospital chaplain, said. "We are devastated and we want government action and stricter supervision of these chatrooms."

The inquest into Mr Cranmer's death heard that an e-mail to him suggested that he had made a suicide pact with a man called "Steve". The sender was never traced but police found evidence that Mr Cranmer (who had changed his name by deed poll) had accessed suicide chatrooms.

The Boffeys, from Solihull in the west Midlands, became suspicious after reading their son's diary entries including one, just before he died on 8 September last year, which stated: "The one thing that must not happen is for this to go wrong. I do not want to be saved."

Mr Cranmer's computer, which was examined by police, showed him giving advice to "Steve" on how to "catch the bus" - a euphemism for suicide.

Mr Boffey, who discovered his son hanging from a tree in the back garden of the family home, told the coroner that there was no evidence that Phillip was depressed before his death.

Anyone helping another person commit suicide faces up to 14 years in prison.