US nurse encouraged British man to kill himself in fake suicide pact, says court

Prosecutors said William Melchert-Dinkel was obsessed with suicide and sought out people

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Monday 28 December 2015 18:58 GMT
William Melchert-Dinkel sought out people in internet chat rooms
William Melchert-Dinkel sought out people in internet chat rooms (AP)

A US court has upheld the conviction of an American nurse who encouraged a British man to hang himself ten years ago - one of several people he said he entered into fake suicide pacts with with.

The appeals court in Minnesota said there was sufficient evidence to show that William Melchert-Dinkel, 53, had encouraged Mark Drybrough, of Coventry to take his own life after he became depressed.

The court also ruled, however, that there was insufficient evidence to show the former nurse had played a role in the death of a Canadian teenager who threw herself into a frozen lake in 2008.

Mark Drybrough took his own life in 2005 (Facebook)

Prosecutors alleged that Melchert-Dinkel got kicks by posing on internet chat room as someone with sympathy for people suffering from depression.

All the while, he used an alias to encourage those people to take their own lives and to record it on the internet so that he and other people could watch the deaths, said officials.

The appeals court says Melchert-Dinkel gave Mr Drybrough detailed instructions on how to hang himself. It ruled he did not give specific instructions to Ms Kajouji, who jumped off a bridge.

The case has been the subject of a long legal fight that narrowed Minnesota’s law against assisting suicides.

Mr Drybrough, 32, hanged himself at his home in July 2005, after allegedly chatting for two months with someone using the aliases Falcongirl and Li Dao.

The Associated Press said that evidence in the case showed Melchert-Dinkel was obsessed with suicide and sought out depressed people online.

He posed as a suicidal female nurse, feigning compassion and offering step-by-step instructions on how they could kill themselves. He acknowledged participating in online chats about suicide with up to twenty people and entering into fake suicide pacts with about ten, five of whom he believed killed themselves.

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