Webcam showed father's suicide

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The Independent Online

A father hanged himself while using a live webcam despite attempts by other chatroom users to talk him out of committing suicide, an inquest has been told.

An inquest in Telford was told that Kevin Whitrick, from Wellington, Shropshire, was using an "insult chatroom" at the time of his death. His body was found at his home on 21 March this year by police who were alerted to the tragedy by other internet users.

Recording a verdict that Mr Whitrick, 42, took his own life, the Telford and Wrekin coroner, Michael Gwynne, said chatrooms directed towards insults and threats should be regulated.

Mr Whitrick's brother, Malcolm, told the coroner yesterday that Kevin, who hanged himself with an electrical cord, had been "lively, bubbly and well-liked" but had been depressed in recent years.

Mr Gwynne heard that internet users in a "friendly insult" forum had egged on Mr Whitrick while others had urged him not to kill himself.

Speaking after the hearing, Malcolm said he did not blame the other users of the chatroom for his brother's death. "My brother was a strong character and he wouldn't have been influenced," he told reporters.

It is thought that up to 60 people were using the chatroom when Mr Whitrick killed himself, but many believed that what they had seen was a practical joke.

West Mercia Police carried out a detailed inquiry into the death and spoke to various users of the forum.

Officers then handed their files on the death to the Crown Prosecution Service, who decided that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against any individual.

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