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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 January 2008, 14:48 GMT
Hanging deaths of best friends
Leigh Jenkins
There's got to be a reason behind it... there's got to be something that can be done to help these boys
Beverley Jenkins on her son, Leigh, pictured
The deaths by hanging of two best friends from the same street have been revealed as police review a series of apparent suicides in the same area.

There is concern about 13 suspected suicides within a year by young people in the Bridgend area.

The mother of Leigh Jenkins, 22, said he was "devastated" when Alan Price, 21, died two months earlier last April.

Beverley Jenkins said there had to be help offered to young people who decided "to make that choice".

Mr Price was found hanging in his parents' garage, and Mr Jenkins died in the same way in a friend's bedroom in June, 58 days later.

Mr Jenkins's mother Beverley said: "When Leigh's best friend killed himself we were worried for a long time that he might do the same thing.

"Leigh was devastated but he seemed to be getting better. By the time he killed himself all my fears had gone - I thought he was coming to terms with his friend's death."

Concerns have also been raised about the role of the internet in some of the deaths.

Seven of the 13 young people who have died: [top, L-R) Dale Crole, Gareth Morgan, Liam Clarke, David Dilling; [bottom, L-R) Thomas Davies, Zachary Barnes, Natasha Randall
Seven of the 13 young people who have died in the last year

Natasha Randall, 17, was found hanged at her home and a girl who is believed to know her self-harmed a day later, and South Wales Police are investigating if they had made contact on the internet.

Bridgend MP Madeleine Moon has also said social networking websites could be "romanticising suicide" with the appearance of their "memory walls" for users to pay tribute to friends.

Mrs Jenkins said her son was using the internet on the night he died, although she had no idea what sites he visited. He also knew another 22-year-old who had been found hanged in his bedroom.

"There seems to have been a cluster of young boys killing themselves who live in a very close proximity to each other," she said.

Family home

"There's got to be a reason behind it. There's got to be something that can be done to help these boys.

"I just can't understand what could be so bad that they decide to make that choice.

"With every generation there seems to be group of boys and girls doing this.

"I find myself thinking Leigh's 11-year-old brother Alex will also have friends and know people his own age who have killed themselves in 10 years' time."

General view of Bridgend
Bridgend lies between Cardiff and Swansea, Wales' two main cities
Her son worked as a pipe fitter at a gas plant in Pembrokeshire alongside his father David, 48.

Father and son worked and lived together, and would return to the family home in Bridgend to see the rest of the family every weekend.

Mrs Jenkins said: "I don't think Leigh would have killed himself if he knew how many people's lives would be devastated by his death.

"Our lives have changed dramatically - I'm never going to be the person I was a year ago again.

"I don't think anyone can accept the death of their child or the reality that they will out-live them.

"My son had so much to live for and so much going for him.

"I hope speaking about what happened to him will make a difference - even if it stops just one person from taking their own life."

The parents of Mr Price declined to comment on their son's death. His father Gwyn said: "It's been very difficult for us."

Police have said they are reviewing a number of suicides in the area, although they would not confirm how many, and emphasised that they were not being reinvestigated.

A multi-agency group has been set up to tackle the number of suicides, although its head said he did not believe there was a particular problem in Bridgend.

SEE ALSO
Teenage girls self-harm warning
25 Sep 07 |  Tayside and Central

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