Two Bridgend cousins kill themselves

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The Independent Online

Two young cousins from Bridgend have apparently hanged themselves within hours of each other. The South Wales town has suffered a spate of suspected teenage suicides in the past year.

Last night, police said there was no suggestion that the latest deaths were linked to 14 others that have taken place in the area in recent months.

However, Kelly Stephenson, 20, was found hanged while on holiday in Kent after being told that her cousin Nathaniel Pritchard, 15, had "harmed himself" on St Valentine's Day and was in hospital, where he later died. Friends have said the pair were "very close".

Officers who were called to Nathaniel's home in the Cefn Glas area of Bridgend on Thursday night said his death was not suspicious "or linked to any other incidents or sudden deaths in the area".

Relatives confirmed that Ms Stephenson had been told her cousin was in a serious condition and was "unlikely" to pull through. She said she was going to the bathroom but did not emerge and was found dead.

A spokeswoman for Kent Police said: "We can confirm that a 20-year-old woman was found dead at an address in Folkestone. Officers are making inquiries but there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances. An inquest will be opened next week."

Police investigating the deaths emphasised that it was too early to say if the deaths were linked to the 14 others, some of whom knew each other and all of whom died in the past year. But it is believed Nathaniel and Ms Stephenson may have belonged to the internet networking sites used by some of those who died.

Relatives claimed Ms Stephenson knew two people who hanged themselves in Bridgend last year. "Kelly was friends with both boys but, whether this had anything to do with what has happened we just don't know," said one relative.