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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 September 2007, 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK
Chatroom warning after web death
Kevin Whitrick
Kevin Whitrick told other users he wanted to kill himself
A coroner has called for "insult chatrooms" to be banned after a man took his own life while being watched by others on a web cam.

A verdict of suicide was returned on Kevin Whitrick, 42, of Wellington, Telford, Shropshire, who died in March.

The court heard he was using Paltalk, which urged users to insult each other, when he said he wanted to kill himself.

He hanged himself while some internet users urged him on and others tried to stop him, coroner Michael Gwynne heard.


The coroner was told Mr Whitrick had been using a "friendly insult" forum at the time of his death.

Mr Gwynne said: "The death of Kevin Whitrick should not be allowed to pass without someone seeing if it is possible to stop chatrooms of this nature being on the internet."

The hearing was told Mr Whitrick had had long-running problems with depression and had tried to kill himself four times in four years.

My brother was a strong character and he wouldn't have been influenced
Malcolm Whitrick

Internet user Carol Vickers called the police after watching Mr Whitrick hang himself with some sort of electrical cord.

Mr Whitrick's brother, Malcolm, told the coroner his brother was "lively, bubbly and well-liked".

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

It is thought that up to 60 people were using the chatroom, which was one of a variety covering different subject matters, at the time of the incident.

West Mercia Police headed the inquiry into his death and spoke to users of the forum.

Officers passed a file about the death to the Crown Prosecution Service which decided there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against any individual.

60 people may have seen Kevin Whitrick hang himself

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23 Mar 07 |  Shropshire

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