Former nurse charged with aiding Briton's suicide

A former nurse accused of encouraging dozens of people to kill themselves was charged with aiding a British man's suicide.

William Melchert-Dinkel, 47, allegedly posed as a female nurse in internet chat rooms and preyed on depressed people.

He was charged by US authorities with encouraging Mark Drybrough, 32, from Coventry to end his life.

Mr Drybrough hanged himself in 2005. An e-mail from Melchert-Dinkel was found on his computer which contained detailed advice on how to hang yourself.

He is also accused of urging Canadian Nadia Kajouji, 18, who drowned in a river in Ottawa, to kill herself.

Canadian investigators said that the teenager had entered into a suicide pact with another chat room user called Cami, one of the names that Melchert-Dinkel used.

It is claimed that he pretended to feel compassion for the people contemplating suicide in chat rooms, while giving them instructions on how to harm themselves.

Prosecutors allege that he told police he had encouraged "dozens" of people to kill themselves and "characterised it as the thrill of the chase".

Melchert-Dinkel, who lives in Faribault, Minnesota, will appear in court on May 25.

He was charged under a rarely used law with two counts of aiding suicide.