THE VALENTINE'S DAY SUICIDE PARTY: Man accused of trying to set up mass Valentine's Day suicide pact involving 32 women, 5 children, and himself



Man Sent to Hospital in Suicide Party Plan

The Associated Press

June 21, 2006 3:21 PM US/Eastern

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore.Krein taken away

A man who tried to organize a Valentine's Day mass suicide has been sentenced to up to 20 years in a state mental hospital.

Gerald Krein Jr., 27, had been charged with solicitation to commit murder after allegedly forming a Yahoo chat room to organize "Suicide Party 2005," asking women to hang themselves naked on Valentine's Day.

Krein was arrested Feb. 9, 2005, and was taken to a state hospital in October after a psychiatrist determined he suffered from "a myriad of mental health disorders."

Prosecutor Ed Caleb said Krein could be released early. "He will stay there until they are convinced he is no longer a threat to the community," Caleb said Tuesday.

A woman concerned that children might be harmed alerted authorities to the suicide plot. Detectives found six women who expressed interest, including a few who were mothers, but they denied planning to murder their children.


Coordinator of suicide party found guilty, insane

6/21/2006, 10:59 a.m. PT

The Associated Press

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) — A Klamath Falls man who tried to organize a Valentine's Day suicide party and was charged with solicitation to commit murder has been sentenced to the state mental hospital.

A Klamath County Circuit Court judge on Tuesday sentenced Gerald Krein Jr., 27, to up to 20 years in the custody of the Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board. Under state law, suspects found guilty "except for insanity" are sent to the State Hospital rather than jail or prison.

In 2005, Krein formed a Yahoo chat room to organize "Suicide Party 2005," asking women to hang themselves naked on Valentine's Day. But a woman concerned that children might be harmed alerted authorities.

Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger said detectives found six women who expressed interest, including a few with children, but those women denied planning a murder of their children. They included women from Virginia, Missouri, Georgia and Canada.

Krein was arrested Feb. 9, 2005 and indicted on Valentine's Day. He was taken to the state hospital in October after a psychiatrist determined he suffered from "a myriad of mental health disorders."

Klamath County District Attorney Ed Caleb said Krein will remain in custody and be supervised and evaluated daily. He could be released early depending on his mental status, Caleb said. "He will stay there until they are convinced he is no longer a threat to the community," Caleb said.


Valentine’s Day suicide man tried to entice women for years

Gerald Krein, the man who allegedly used chat rooms to solicit a mass suicide on Valentine's Day, 2005, was arrested in Oregon.Irish Examiner


AN Oregon man who used an internet chat room to try to set up a mass suicide on Valentine’s Day had been trying to persuade women for at least five years to engage in sex acts with him and then kill themselves, a sheriff said. Gerald Krein is charged with solicitation to commit murder and prosecutors are expected to add an attempted manslaughter charge today, said Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger.

Combing through old chat room records, investigators discovered that Krein had been trying to entice women across North America to commit suicide as far back as 2000, Mr Evinger said. Krein told investigators he'd been in touch with 32 women, authorities said.

Krein, 26, was arrested on Wednesday at his mother's home in the southern Oregon town of Klamath Falls. He had moved to Oregon about a year ago from the Sacramento, California, area to take care of his ailing father.

"The common theme is that these were women who were vulnerable, who were depressed. He invited them to engage in certain sexual acts with him and then they were to hang themselves naked from a beam in his house," the sheriff said. "He was indicating to these women that he had a beam and that it would hold multiple people."

Klamath County Prosecutor Ed Caleb said that because Krein was living in a mobile home while organising the suicide, the idea of hanging bodies from beams may indicate the plot was a fantasy. "It's clear that he was either engaging in some kind of fantasy or he planned for it to happen somewhere else," Mr Caleb said. No deaths had been found that were linked to Krein, the sheriff said, but he added he would not be surprised if someone had killed herself as a result of Krein's alleged activities.

Detectives learned of the Valentine's Day plan from a woman in Ontario, Canada, who said she saw a message in a Yahoo chat room that had "Suicide Ideology" in the title. Chat room participants supposedly planned to commit suicide on Valentine's Day, possibly while logged on with each other. The chat room is no longer active.

The woman told detectives she was going to take part in the suicide but had second thoughts when another chat room participant talked about killing her children before taking her own life.

So far, investigators have tracked down four of the women Krein was in contact with: the woman who came forward in Canada and three others living in Oregon, Missouri and Virginia. "In the Missouri and Virginia case, he was inviting them to bring their children with them," said Mr Evinger.

The woman from Oregon shared a transcript of her online exchange with police. According to a copy obtained by CNN, the conversation went as follows:

Woman: How did you come up with the idea of a party? That's pretty creative.

Answer: Just did. So do you want to join?

Woman: Maybe.

Question: Do you want to hang?

Woman: No, gas.

The most recent chat room began in December on Yahoo, about the time Krein moved into the mobile home.


Man's dark side revealed at suicide party


Tuesday, February 15, 2005 Last updated 12:36 a.m. PT

Jaime Shockman provides documentation of the sordid details  College senior Jaime Shockman was at home working on her computer when an instant message popped up at the bottom of her screen. It was an invitation to die. "Do you think of suicide?" the stranger asked. "Do you want to die with others," he went on, according to the instant message transcript.

Bored and convinced the message was a joke, the young woman replied. For two hours in December, she answered questions posed by 26-year-old Gerald Krein, who is now accused of attempting to lure emotionally fragile women to his Oregon home for what police are calling a Valentine's Day sex and suicide party.

It's not clear whether any of the women he allegedly contacted were sincere about killing themselves. For her part, Shockman says she engaged Krein in the conversation as a prank.

"I was convinced it was a joke," Shockman said, who believes the man picked her out because her screen name - KillToriSpelling - refers to killing.

The Portland State University student decided it was something more sinister when he told her that a mother from Portland was coming to his home in southern Oregon to commit suicide along with her five kids.

Now, Shockman is one of five women - from Canada, Georgia, Oregon, Missouri and Virginia - out of more than two dozen allegedly contacted by Krein who have identified themselves to police. According to authorities, the women were invited to the "suicide get-together" at his house, where they were to hang themselves naked from a beam.

Krein, who was arrested Wednesday, told investigators he had been in touch with 31 women. He was indicted Monday while deputies kept watch over his house to make sure no one arrived to kill themselves. "It was suggested that they come here, that they hang with him, that they have a sex party, and if they couldn't come he would certainly entertain them, doing it over the Internet," Sheriff Tim Evinger said.

Shockman printed a copy of the instant message communication - in which he identified himself first as "Jerry," then as "Gerald Krein" - and showed it to The Associated Press. She also has shown it to police.

After he divulged his plan to commit suicide along with 15 others, Shockman asked him: "How do you want to die?"

"We was thinking hanging," he wrote back, according to the transcript.

"All at the same time in the same place?" she asked.

When he answered yes, she kidded him that the weight of the bodies would break the structure they were hung from.

"No," he replied. "Got a thing built to hold bodies."

He said it was strong enough to "hold 50" and added he had quit his job at Blockbuster to plan the party - and build the beam in his house in Klamath Falls, Ore.

In the final hour, Shockman said Krein peppered her with questions on how she wanted to die.

Did she want to hold hands with the other women? Did she want to be blindfolded, or see the expression on the other women's faces as she died? How high should her body be above the ground? What did she want to wear?

Krein instructed her not to wear shoes because the shoes would "weigh you down."

She felt on edge when he asked her whether she wanted to die in the nude.

But it was when he mentioned that children were to be involved that she dialed 911.

"One woman is bringing her kids," he messaged.

"How many kids?" asked Shockman, from her room plastered with horror movie posters.

"5," he messaged back.

When asked why he wanted to die, he answered: "hate everything." He asked to see a picture of her. Shockman sent him to an Oregon newspaper Web site and sent him to the image of another woman. He rated her a "10."

According to the transcript, he said that women hate him.

Then he asked: "Am I a dog to you?"


Death pact: The picture gets darker

Monday, February 14, 2005 11:25 AM PST

Herald and News - Klamath Falls, OregonThis is the house at 2150 Madison St.

It was a "lonely and bored" Klamath Falls man, investigators say, who tried to lure women from around the country and Canada to come to Southern Oregon to hang themselves on Valentine's Day.

At the end of a week of working a case that attracted national and international attention, Klamath Falls investigators described a scheme in which Gerald Dean Krein Jr. trolled the Internet for victims. It now sounds less like a case of mass suicide and more like a a plot to gratify its perpetrator.

Krein's interest was sexual stimulation, seeing naked women hang themselves, detectives said.

So far, four women have come forward to tell investigators they'd talked with Krein about the plan.

Krein wanted women to come to Klamath Falls where they would "hang naked - choke to death or break their necks," said Monty Holloway, a sheriff's detective. The plan wasn't a hoax, he said, but rather a fantasy Krein was trying to play out.

"He wanted to see these women hang naked," Holloway said.

A day before Valentine's Day on Monday, questions remain in the minds of investigators: Did Krein intend to commit suicide himself? Did he intend suicides to be committed elsewhere, or just in Klamath Falls? Most important, who was the woman whose talk about killing her two children alarmed investigators, and where is she?

Krein, 26, remained jailed Saturday. Bail was set at $100,000. He's charged with soliciting murder of two children. A grand jury will consider the case Monday. Authorities said more charges are possible.

Investigators say Krein worked at a computer in a mobile home at 2150 Madison Street in the south suburbs of Klamath Falls to create a Yahoo chat room called "Suicide Party 2005." Through electronic postings he told possible participants that 32 people would kill themselves on Monday, said Klamath County sheriff's detectives.

The four women talking to investigators are from Portland, Chesterfield County in Virginia, Unionville, Mo., and King City, a suburb of Toronto. Investigators said they knew Krein only from the Web contacts.

Authorities around the country and in Canada are still trying to identify the mother who said she would kill her kids, and find others who might have planned to participate.

In the chat room he created in December Krein bragged about watching on a Web cam as a naked woman hanged herself, authorities said. In posts and e-mails, investigators said, Krein wrote that he was turned on by this.

Detectives said Krein lived a sheltered life and never had a girlfriend. "This kid has never lived alone, never worked, never been away from mom and dad," Holloway said.

Krein's father has had cerebral palsy since the 1990s, and Krein was a caretaker. With his parents, mother Kaye Krein and father Gerald Sr., Krein moved from Sacramento about a year ago. They bought the house on Madison Street Dec. 16 and moved in just over a month ago.

Via the Internet, Krein found people to connect with through his keyboard. And he found people interested in his idea of a suicide party on Valentine's Day. Detectives said Krein controlled access to his chat room and invited mostly women who said they were contemplating suicide.

Gerald Krein: "Lonely and bored?"  "Lonely and bored, that's his reason," said John Dougherty, another sheriff's detective.

Detectives said that at one point, they asked Krein what his mother would do if women started to arrive at the house: Would she let them in? After pausing, Krein said no.

It's still unclear whether Krein planned to participate himself and whether there would have been more suicides in various locations, broadcast over Web cams, said Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger.

Authorities said Krein may have been trying to get a group suicide together since at least 2000. "It appears he has been very active for quite some time in trying to entice people into killing themselves," Evinger said.

The Klamath Falls Police Department said a tipster told them in September that Krein had commented about getting together a group to commit suicide, said Officer Mike Anderson of the city police.

Police officers talked to Krein about the comment, which was general and had no planned date. "He admitted to it, but said he was joking," Anderson said.

Police decided that what Krein had said wasn't a crime, and they had no evidence he was planning a crime, Anderson said. There was no Web site, e-mail or other information available. "No further investigation was done after the initial contact," Anderson said.

No police report was filed on the incident, he said.

In their recent work, investigators have found messages from Krein on a suicide news group from September 2003, Anderson said. Krein was trying to get people to come to Sacramento to commit group suicide, Anderson said. Going back further, investigators have found messages dating to 2000 in which Krein solicits people to join in group suicide.

He was putting messages in "all types of different venues, whether they are chat rooms or news groups," Evinger said. Krein was "really preying on vulnerable groups."

Ed Caleb, Klamath County district attorney, said police hadn't heard of the other incidents and didn't have enough evidence last fall to get a search warrant. "There were nowhere near as many facts as came through this time," Caleb said. "This time we got specific information. That information wasn't available on the earlier tip."

That information included the name of Krein's chat room and more details about his plans, he said.

The Canadian woman from King City contacted the sheriff's department on Jan. 19 about the Valentine's Day suicide party after she learned Krein's plans included a mother who was going to kill her children, authorities said. "That's where the lady drew the line," Holloway said. "She's suicidal, but it went too far. It scared her when he started talking about children involved."

Krein had given the woman his address, name and other information in trying to get her to come to Klamath Falls to kill herself, detectives said.

A detective joined Yahoo using an alias and entered the chat room to learn more about the plans. On Tuesday authorities went to talk to Krein. Detectives said Krein denied everything.

He told them someone must have hacked into his account and made the chat room. "He said, 'It's not me,' " Holloway said.

Then Krein became agitated, throwing boxes from his back porch onto his lawn and launching one of his father's crutches as if it were a javelin, authorities said. He also smashed a Web cam, saying he would never use it again.

Sheriff detectives and deputies returned Wednesday with a search warrant and charges against Krein. His computer is now in Portland, where FBI agents are scanning its hard drive. Yahoo officials have helped with the investigation, and authorities have subpoenas to obtain Krein's address book and e-mails from his Yahoo account.

In the three-bedroom, one-bath trailer Krein shared with his parents he had a 10-by-10 computer room, detectives said. "His home was a cluttered mess," Holloway said.

Amid the clutter was a collection of 4,000 to 5,000 DVDs, including a vast library of pornographic films downloaded from the Internet, detectives said. The library included films of sibling incest and "barely legal" females, they said.

After news of Krein's arrest hit the national media - including the major television networks, cable television news channels and large daily newspapers - three other woman told authorities they had contacted Krein about the suicide party, detectives said.Jaime Shockman was the Portland tipster

A woman from Portland told them she had been chatting with Krein over the Internet since Christmas, and he wanted her to come to his house on Valentine's Day and kill herself. Their conversations had a sexual overtone, detectives said.

"He had asked her if she wanted to die naked," Dougherty said.

The woman said she wasn't interested in actually taking part in the suicide party, but was just "screwing" with Krein, Dougherty said.

When the woman told Krein she didn't have a car to get to Klamath Falls, he told her she could catch a ride with an out-of-state woman who would be driving through Portland. Authorities said he told the Portland woman that the woman passing through would have four children, ages 14 to 18, with her and they all planned to hang themselves at the suicide party Monday.

Like the Canadian woman, the Portland woman said Krein "went too far" with the idea of killing children or having them participate in the suicide, detectives said.

Now authorities are wondering if anyone is still planning to travel to Klamath Falls to kill themselves. Agencies handling the investigation locally, the sheriff's office, city police department, district attorney's office and the Oregon State Police, met Friday afternoon to discuss the case and plan how to prevent possible occurrences Monday in Klamath Falls or elsewhere.

"I would hate to have someone follow through with this," said Jim Hunter, Klamath Fall police chief. Whether anyone will commit suicide, he said, "we have no idea."


Valentine's Day passes with no one showing up for suicide party -- No party goers for suicide pact

By Jeff Barnard

Herald and News - Klamath Falls, Oregon

February 15, 2005

A Klamath County sheriff's deputy on Monday watches the Madison Street home where authorities say Gerald Dean Krein Jr. invited women to come for a suicide party on Valentine's Day.KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Valentine's Day passed without anyone showing up for a sex and suicide party allegedly planned by a Klamath Falls man through Internet chat rooms, the Klamath County sheriff said Tuesday.

Deputies watching over the green and white mobile home where Gerald D. Krein Jr. lived with his parents talked to some relatives who came by to see Krein's mother. But no one was planning suicide with Krein, Sheriff Tim Evinger said. "We feel the imminent danger has passed," Evinger told The Associated Press "The sad part is we don't know how many people he encouraged. A reasonable person would dissuade these people."

On Monday, deputies seized three computers Krein had access to while staying at his cousin's house in Klamath Falls before moving in with his parents, Evinger said. The cousin, Joe Best, has been questioned by investigators, but has not been charged.

Klamath Falls police talked to Krein at the cousin's house last September after receiving a tip from a woman in Missouri that Krein was suicidal and might be trying to recruit people to join him. Krein denied being suicidal or in touch with the Missouri woman, and suggested someone had hacked into his Yahoo Internet account, police said. He was not charged.

A computer Krein used at his parents' house has been sent to the FBI to see if it will reveal the names of people he contacted through e-mail, instant messaging, chat rooms and news groups on the Internet. "It probably will be an extended investigation," Evinger said.

A computer belonging to Jaime Shockman at her Portland apartment Monday shows part of an instant message conversation she says she had with Gerald Dean Krein Jr., who is now accused of attempting to lure women to his home for a Valentine's Day mass suicide "party."Klamath Falls police officer Mike Anderson, who went over Krein's computer before it was sent to the FBI, said he saw news group postings seeking a group of more than 20 women to join him for a sex and suicide party, and some responses questioning why he wanted more than 20. Anyone interested was asked to e-mail him.

"There were some derogatory statements made towards him," Anderson said. "There were a couple people who wanted more information."

Authorities have said Krein told a woman in Canada that he was in touch with 31 people about a Valentine's Day party where women, some bringing their children, would join him for sex, then commit suicide by hanging from the neck naked.

Based on a tip from that woman, sheriff's deputies arrested Krein Feb. 9 at his parents' home.

Police say Krein created a Yahoo chat room called "Suicide Party 2005" to lure women to carry out his plan. "It was suggested they come here ..." said Evinger. "If they couldn't come, he would certainly entertain them over the Internet."

He made similar Internet overtures while living in Texas in 2000 and in Sacramento, Calif., in 2003, authorities have said. Investigators have heard from five women who said they were in touch with Krein. The women are from Virginia, Missouri, Georgia, Portland, and a suburb of Toronto, Canada.

Defense attorney Evelyn Merritt said Krein would enter innocent pleas on Thursday when he is arraigned in Klamath County Circuit Court on indictments alleging one count of solicitation to commit murder and four counts of solicitation to commit manslaughter.

"Both he and his mother are pretty upset," Merritt said. "It's a pretty upsetting incident."

Krein has been held in the Klamath County Jail, under special observation and separated from the other prisoners. Bail was set at $100,000.

Solicitation to commit murder carries a seven and a half year prison sentence.

Klamath County Prosecutor Ed Caleb said defense attorneys will probably ask for a psychiatric evaluation of their client. "We're hoping the defense counsel has his mental health evaluated so we can tell what we're dealing with here," Caleb said.

Investigators say the plot was less about suicide and more about sexual gratification. Sheriff deputies are looking into Krein's background and the investigation is ongoing. "There's a ton of work to be done yet," Caleb said.

Evinger said investigators have subpoenaed Internet records and are working with the FBI as well as law enforcement agencies around the country and the Royal Canadian Mounties. "We expect this to be ongoing," he said. "It's like peeling back layers of an onion."

The day of Krein's arrest, deputies seized his computer, a Web cam, and a large cardboard box of pornographic DVDs. Authorities said Krein had 4,000 to 5,000 DVDs, including volumes on "brother-sister" incest and "barely legal" females.Krein's parents, Kaye and Gerald Krein, Sr., own the house and are living there.

Caleb said investigators are looking into Valentine's Day suicides that have occurred since 2000. Any suicides committed Monday will be investigated as well to see if they are connected to this case.

Deputies also have been inundated with 911 calls from people around the country who have loved ones missing, concerned that they might be trying to join Krein. Caleb said national and international attention about the suicide party plans have aided investigators. "This is one of the few times the media has helped us out," he said.

Since Krein's arrest, Evinger has appeared on several CNN news broadcasts, NBC's "Today, Weekend Edition" and ABC's "Good Morning America." The story has landed in newspapers from New York City and Stockholm, Sweden, to Moscow, Russia, and Toronto.

After a weekend of breaking news about the case, Valentine's Day was quiet at the mobile home on Madison. Across the street, an unmarked sheriff's rig sat in the parking lot of Rick's Smoke Shop as deputies took turns watching for any party goers. None showed up.

Trisha Vilhauser, manager at Rick's, had a front row seat of the stakeout from her store window. The only excitement she saw happened about 10:30 a.m., when a SUV with three people pulled up to the house for a visit. Deputies swarmed in, but no arrests were made. The SUV then left the scene.

Aside from that it was, for the deputies, a day of watching and waiting. And for the neighbors, some of whom say they will continue to watch.

"A lot of people are outraged it was in our neighborhood," Vilhauser said.


Transcript details suicide solicitation

A Klamath Falls man accused of planning a Valentine's Day suicide party pleads not guilty

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Oregonian

Gerald Dean Krein Jr. reviews court documents during his arraignment.KLAMATH FALLS -- His screen name was Suicideparty2005, and on Jan. 19 he was trolling the Internet in search of Valentines who wanted to die.

He asked a Canadian woman with the screen name "hapieluv" if she wanted to hang herself or hold his hand while she died. He told her about another woman who was bringing her children to a suicide pact party he was arranging.

"Do you want to hwelp (sic) kill them?" he wrote in an instant message conversation filled with misspellings.

A transcript of the chilling exchange was part of the evidence Klamath County sheriff's detectives used to obtain a search warrant for the home of 26-year-old Gerald Krein Jr. Krein was arraigned Thursday on one count of solicitation to murder and four counts of solicitation to manslaughter for allegedly planning the Valentine's Day suicide party.

He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges before Klamath County Circuit Judge Marci Adkisson. He was unshaven and his dark hair disheveled and he wore an orange jail-issue shirt as he appeared in court via video. He didn't speak but nodded only slightly in response to questions from the judge and his attorney.

Krein is being held in isolation on $100,000 bail at the Klamath County Jail until his next court appearance March 22. By then, Klamath County District Attorney Ed Caleb said, prosecutors hope to determine whether Krein's party was a macabre fantasy or a real plan. "Aside from the (instant messages) there wasn't any overt act on his part, so it boils down to his intent," Caleb said. "I think everybody in America wants to know his intent."

But Klamath County officials didn't have time to explore Krein's intent when they got the anonymous tip Jan. 19 that 32 people had signed up to die at the double-wide manufactured home where Krein lived with his parents on the outskirts of Klamath Falls.

Deputies went to the home to talk to Krein twice on Feb. 7. He shouted obscenities at them and destroyed his Web cam in front of them before his mother intervened and refused to allow detectives to talk to him alone, according to the search warrant affidavit. Sheriff's officials arrested him two days later after searching the home and finding three computer hard drives, 138 pornographic DVDs, a camcorder and four VHS tapes.

"There's been talk that this might have been a flight of fancy on his part, but as law enforcement you can't take that risk because if you're wrong, people die," Caleb said. "We're past the Valentine deadline, and now it's time to step back."

Klamath County investigators so far have identified five women -- from Portland, Missouri, Georgia, Virginia and a suburb of Toronto -- who said they'd been in touch with Krein about the Valentine's Day party. Deputies watched his parents' home Monday but said no one arrived for the suicide pact.

Krein's court-appointed defense attorney, Eve Merritt, said she probably will request a psychological evaluation of her client. If Merritt shares any findings of a psychological evaluation with prosecutors, they would have an easier time figuring out what kind of plea bargain to offer Krein, Caleb said.

"For us, with just about every case we look at how the public can be protected from this type of situation. Does that mean prison? Does that mean probation?" he said. "And we probably won't know that until we know more about him."

Group suicides arranged on the Internet have occurred in Japan, where in 2003 a total of 34 people killed themselves in 12 incidents, according to the Japanese national police. Just Wednesday, Japanese police prevented four people from carrying out a planned group suicide in Osaka after one of them backed out and tipped police. Similar group suicides have also been reported in Korea, Hong Kong and Guam.

Authorities said Krein's Valentine's party wasn't the first group suicide he'd discussed on the Internet. Investigators said he was involved in similar Internet discussions when he lived in Texas in 2000 and Sacramento in 2003.

In September, Klamath Falls city police talked to Krein at his cousin's house, where he was living, after hearing from a Missouri woman that he was suicidal and might be trying to find others to join him. Krein told police then that he wasn't suicidal, didn't know the Missouri woman and believed his Internet account had been accessed by someone else.


CYBER AGE: Dark side of digital age

The Statesmen

February 23, 2005

What would you do if you found someone shouting: “Everything’s horrible, I want to die. Who will die with me?” That’s how Reuters read the message in a Japanese Internet chatroom after four people varying in age from 19 to 30 were found to have committed suicide in a car parked on a riverbank in Hokkaido island in northern Japan last Thursday. In the digital age, you can google-froogle anything from sushi kits to death kits, and so easily that Internet pioneers might wonder what they had wrought. Of course inventors cannot control whether people would mess up with their inventions or use them to enhance the quality of life.

In 1973 when two young computer scientists, Vinton G Cerf and Robert E Kahn, came up with the revolutionary idea of making different isolated computers talk to each other through a common language – Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol – they did not foresee the whole new world that would eventually open up. Of course there were many more people who made the Internet possible, which eventually, looking at the bright side, made Bangalore, for example, become a global outsourcing hub, among other things. Cerf and Kahn did not anticipate the Internet to become such a driving force for good – and evil – in our lives. E-trading, e-pornography, e-surveillance, e-death and who knows what else is in store for us!

Welcome to the digital age, which makes networking and sharing inevitable. For example, you might wonder how a 26-year-old man, Gerald Krein from Klamath Falls, Oregon, narrowly failed in enticing 32 women in chatrooms to commit a mass suicide on Valentine’s Day.

“The common theme is that these were women who were vulnerable, who were depressed. He invited them to engage in certain sexual acts with him – and they were to hang themselves naked from a beam in his house,” Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger said. Had Krein succeeded, he might have used his Webcam to netcast the event – 32 women hanging naked by a roof beam. Sexual asphyxiation is a most extreme form of sexual act and in a land of extremes, of death by choice – Oregon has been toying with the idea of physician assisted suicide solution for terminal patients – it would have probably created a stir; and then been shrugged off as a bizarre event after the media had milked it dry.

A Canadian woman, probably a prospect for after life, who saw the message entitled Suicide Ideology in a chatroom and learned to her horror that another chatroom woman intended to kill not only herself but also her two children, promptly informed the police. Depressed women have been known to kill their children. At least 31 women had agreed to participate in the mass suicide, Krein told police investigators upon his arrest. Chatroom records show that Krein had been networking with women to solicit suicide since 2000. It is difficult to say at this stage of investigation how successful he has been. Nor do we know what was driving these people to commit a group suicide rather than doing it alone. Getting out of deep depression through extreme sex, consummated finally with collective suicide by hanging: if that’s a probable explanation, then one might also understand why some people blow themselves up in their zealous commitment to jihad, which without networking and sharing wouldn’t be so blindingly enticing. Dying alone is terrible. Dying becomes easier when people die together. The Internet provides togetherness to faceless strangers.

Group suicide of strangers who meet on the Net isn’t an infrequent occurrence in Japan where hara-kiri has been an ancient ritual. In Japanese chatrooms, bulletin boards and suicide-related websites, people come together to talk about not how best to escape from their suicidal fantasies but how to execute them – sealing themselves in a coal-burning room and dying of carbon monoxide poisoning; in cars parked in remote mountain places; overdosing on camera; jumping together from high-rise buildings. Though some succeed, others end up with terrible injuries and life-long misery. Yukio Saito, a Methodist minister, who founded and oversees a suicide hotline, Phone of Life, made a very insightful remark to Reuters: “The idea of dying together is somehow reassuring. Dying alone is lonely and takes more courage. The way these suicides are carried out is very sensational for the media, and very suggestive for people who may be thinking of taking their lives.”

Think of Jim Jones of the People’s Temple, the cult leader who led 913 followers to a mass suicide death pact in 1978 in Jonestown, Guyana. Had Rev. Jones had a website, let us say, Your Guide to Death is Beautiful, with a seductive young woman giving step by step instructions and the precise time from here to thereafter, he might have attracted millions of people to an unheard of mass suicide. You could imagine what a charismatic jihadi leader might do in future when he wraps up mass suicide bombings with a noble religious cause.

(ND Batra is Professor of Communications, Norwich University, Vermont.)





Mother drowns daughter, hangs herself, authorities say

The Epping, NH home - scene of drowning and hangingAssociated Press

February 14, 2005 - Valentine's Day

EPPING, N.H. -- An Epping woman who apparently was depressed drowned her daughter before committing suicide by hanging herself, authorities said Monday. The terse announcement of the autopsy results for Tonya Neihart, 32, and Alexa Neihart, 6, made no mention of possible motive.

"Alexa was drowned in the bathtub and ... Tonya went downstairs and hanged herself in the garage," Assistant Attorney General Karen Huntress told reporters. She said the mother left no suicide note, but investigators "found there was some depression involved here." Huntress did not elaborate. The bodies were found by an unidentified family member Sunday night.

Neihart and her daughter moved to the Plumer Court housing complex in November from Nottingham, said condo association treasurer Geri Fichera, who recalled that Neihart said she was separated from her husband and that she and her daughter would be living alone.

Tonya Neihart's brother and stepfather died in 2001 and her mother died in 2004, according to obituaries in the Portsmouth Herald. The obituaries also named a sister, Rolinda Desjardins of Portsmouth, a husband, Jonathan Neihart of Nottingham.

Calls to the home of a Jonathan Neihart in Nottingham were not answered Monday.

Tonya Neihart's cousin, Gregory Locke of Kittery, Maine, told The Associated Press the couple had a history of splitting up and reconciling and that Tonya Neihart had told her husband in August she planned to leave him. "The day of (her mother's) funeral, she told him she was divorcing him. There was a big scene," Locke said.

Records at Derry Family Court show the couple's divorce became final in September.

Tonya Neihart worked for an airline in Manchester, her cousin said.

Neighbor Angela Garniss said she was "horrified that it happens next to you house. Just can't believe something like that can happen next to where you live and when a little child is involved it's pretty upsetting."


Reason For Mother's Murder-Suicide Unknown -- Investigators Say Woman Suffered From Depression - WNNE

5:11 pm EST February 15, 2005

Tonya Neihart in PHS 1990 yearbookEPPING, N.H. -- The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office is continuing to investigate why an Epping mother killed her young daughter before taking her own life Monday.

Tonya Neihart, 32, drowned her 6-year-old daughter, Alexa, in a bathtub in their condominium before hanging herself in her garage.

Investigators have said that Neihart was depressed but have released few other details about the investigation.

Forensic psychiatrist David Schopick said that although the circumstances surrounding the tragedy are unknown to the public, based on what authorities have revealed, he believes Neihart may have suffered from profound mental health disorders that go beyond depression.

"This is so unusual, one would have to question if she was thinking in a bizarre or psychotic or delusional matter about what would happen to her child after she committed suicide," Schopick said.

At the Nottingham school where Alexa attended kindergarten, school officials sent a letter home to parents with suggestions of how to talk to their children about the tragedy. The school nurse and guidance counselor were in the kindergarten class Tuesday when school began in case children wanted to talk.

Neihart was recently divorced, and in the past several years, she had lost her mother, father, stepfather and brother. "This is almost certainly a primary suicide but with some consideration or thoughts about what would happen with the child after she was gone," Schopick said.

Schopick reiterated that simply because someone is going through a difficult divorce or is suffering from depression, it does not mean he or she would automatically act out in this manner. But he said he believes the lesson for those who are having difficulty in their everyday lives is to seek help.





Missing woman found dead; Wake planned today, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

By Claudia Reed/Staff Writer
The Willits News

February 22, 2005

Helen MarieHelen Marie, 44, a former Willits resident missing since Thursday, February 10, was found dead about a mile from her Spy Rock residence on February 18.

Reportedly, she took her own life, choosing to die by hanging. A suicide note was found at the site. "We're comfortable it was a self-induced type of situation," reported Chief Deputy Coroner Kurt Smallcomb.

Marie's body was found by a federal animal trapper who was checking his traps in the area, one of which had caught the black-and-brown dog that accompanied Marie on her last walk. The dog was released with minor leg injuries and taken to a veterinarian.

Apparently Marie had been despondent for some time. Reportedly, she previously mentioned suicide to two friends asking one "Why don't I just kill myself?" and asking another, "What's the karma of suicide?"

Presumably, she took her own life shortly after leaving home, although she had carried along a backpack containing money and a cell phone, as though she might change her mind. "Sometimes they change their minds," said Sheriff's Capt. Kevin Broin of people with suicidal impulses. "Or maybe she didn't plan it until she went for a walk and decided enough's enough. It's really a sad situation, sad for the people left behind."

Broin said there have been 25 suicides in the county over the past year. According to the 2004 County Health Profiles released by the state Department of Health Services, Mendocino is in the highest third of the state's 58 counties when it comes to deaths from both suicide and homicide.

A wake will be held for Helen Marie 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at the Purple Thistle restaurant on Main Street, where she was formerly employed.







Manningtree woman sent suicide text notes before hanging self

Evening Gazette

Wednesday 23rd Feb 2005

A Manningtree woman sent text messages to family members before she hanged herself in woodland, an inquest has heard.

They sparked off a search which led officers to Rougham, near Bury St Edmunds, where the body of Julie Bolt was found.

The location had been identified using mobile phone technology, said Greater Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean.

Miss Bolt, 38, of Nash Court, Lawford Dale, Manningtree, had hanged herself from a tree.

In a statement, her brother Andrew said after being born in Singapore and later moving to the UK, his sister had always appeared fit and well and enjoyed travel.

The coroner said because of the notes and letters left by Miss Bolt it was clear she knew what she was doing. He recorded that she took her own life.




UK web address link to online suicide plot

Tony Allen-Mills and Gareth Walsh
The Sunday Times - Britain

February 13, 2005

AN internet surfer accused of planning a bizarre Valentine’s Day mass suicide used a British chat room to recruit willing victims. Gerald Krein, a jobless drifter from Oregon in America, used an online message with the heading “Suicide party you want to join it” to direct would-be suicides to a British web address. His plot was partially foiled last week when he was arrested after a tip-off from a Canadian woman who had been following his scheme on the web.

Oregon police are searching for at least 32 people across America — and possibly others in Britain — who may have been planning to kill themselves at a set time tomorrow.

In his original internet posting Krein, 26, invited members of a chat group devoted to suicide “to come to the party to die”. Signing himself Jerry, Krein said the party would be in Klamath Falls, the Oregon town where he lived with his parents in a mobile home.

He directed respondents to a “suicide party” group with a net address. He also used an American address with the provider Yahoo.

Police were tipped off when a woman watching a Yahoo website read that another woman was planning to kill her two children before committing suicide. Krein’s computers were seized and police are trying to identify the owners of at least 32 e-mail addresses who had responded to the Yahoo site.

We could just be scratching the surface since the internet is worldwide,” said Tim Evinger, the Klamath county sheriff.




Missing teen e-mail search

Sheffield Today

21 May 2005

DETECTIVES have seized a computer belonging to a missing South Yorkshire teenager who vanished from home two weeks before she was due to star in a reality TV show. They are trawling through Carina Stephenson's e-mails and checking out Internet sites she has visited looking for clues to help them work out what may have happened to her.

Her desperate family and friends have searched the areas surrounding her Branton home, near Doncaster, and have put posters up hoping somebody will recognise the 17-year-old. The former Armthorpe School pupil was reported missing by her frantic family on Thursday after going for a bike ride at 10am but failing to return home later that day.

She and the rest of her family are due to appear in a six-part series to be screened on the History Channel from June 6 showing how they coped with spending four months in Australia living as the early settlers did at the turn of the 19th century. They answered a newspaper advert looking for families to volunteers for the experiment and beat off competition from around the world.

Corina, her estate manager dad John, 43, her teaching assistant mum Liz, 38 and her 13-year-old brother Tyler went to New South Wales last August. They joined families from Ireland and Australia, Indigenous Australians, and nine male and female 'convicts' in a fledgling community set during the period 1800-1815. The series is a fly-on-the-wall documentary aimed at showing how a modern day family copes with the lifestyle people led 200 years ago ...

"Since we got back she has spent all her time in her room on the computer on MSN, internet chatrooms and gothic websites," said dad John. He said the police had examined the content of some of her chatroom conversations and had taken the computer away for a more detailed examination.

Mum Liz, who said she has been unable to sleep since her daughter vanished, said she had recently told her family she was a lesbian. "Perhaps she was using the chatrooms to meet people, we just don't know, it's one of the possibilities the police are looking into," she said ...

When she was last seen Carina was riding a Zombie BMX. She was wearing black, baggy knee-length combat trousers covered in zips and chains, knee-length stripey socks with white trainers.


Teen reality TV show star found dead in apparent suicide

Carina Stephenson spent much of her time on internet chatroom sites during the five months prior to her suicideHerald Sun 24 May 05

A TEENAGER whose family was filmed for a reality-TV series in Australia has been found dead two weeks before it was to go to air in Britain. Police are trying to discover whether the apparent suicide of 17-year-old Carina Stephenson was connected to the program.

Her body was found on Saturday in woods close to her home in Branton, near Doncaster, two days after she said she was going on a bike ride.

The teenager, her parents and younger brother spent four months in the Australian bush recreating the tough lives of early-19th-century colonial settlers for The Colony, a six-part series which aired in Australia on SBS in January-February and is due to air in Britain soon.

Since returning home five months ago Ms Stephenson is said to have spent much of her time on internet chatroom sites.

The reality show – a joint production between SBS, Irish network RTE and The History Channel in Britain – was said to have been a successful experience for the teenager, who was taking a year off before her final exams.

Producers of the program will consult her family before deciding whether to air the show as planned. Ms Stephenson, her father John, 43, an estate manager, her mother Liz, 38, a teaching assistant, and 13-year-old brother Tyler lived like the early settlers in Australia, working farmland without modern equipment. The Stephensons beat competition from all over the world after answering a newspaper advertisement.

Her mother Liz said Carina had been troubled by her sexuality and recently revealed to her family that she was gay.

Detectives have seized her computer and examined her chatroom conversations. SBS issued a statement yesterday saying it was "shocked and saddened" to learn of the death.

Adelaide woman Shelly Williams, who was a participant in the show, was also shocked. "She was without doubt the funniest person there," she said. "She seemed to be the most with-it person. She just seemed to have it all together. It's been a while, six months or so, (since filming) so I guess anything could have happened."


Teen reality television star was found hanged

Yorkshire Post Today

26 May 2005

Carina Stephenson committed suicide in woods near her homeA SOUTH YORKSHIRE teenager who was due to star in a reality television show was found hanged from a tree and had left two notes, an inquest was told.

Carina Louise Stephenson went missing last Thursday from her home in Branton, near Doncaster, and was found by police two days later.

At the opening of an inquest yesterday, it was revealed that the 17-year-old was found hanged.

Her father, John Stephenson, confirmed to coroner Stanley Hooper two notes found at the scene were in her handwriting.

The 43-year-old estate manager said: "She was a beautiful girl and we never expected this. I hope she is happy where she is."

The Doncaster hearing was told Miss Stephenson became a Goth at 15 and had been spending a lot of time on the Internet and less time with relatives and friends.

Last August she spent four months in Australia with her parents and 13-year-old brother as part of a series called Colony about how settlers lived in the early 19th century. The History Channel programme was due to be aired in two weeks' time but has been postponed until September.

Miss Stephenson's mother, Liz Taylor, told the inquest her daughter enjoyed the experience. She said: "We all loved it and Carina was always enthusiastic."

She last saw her daughter on Wednesday, May 18 when she left the family home in Gatewood Lane, Branton, saying she was going for a bicycle ride to see a friend and shouted: "I'll see you later". Miss Stephenson's body was found in a clearing in Kilham Woods, off Kilham Lane.

The inquest was adjourned.






Please talk says suicide girl's mum -- girl trawled Internet suicide chats before killing self

Sheffield Today

27 July 2005

A DEVASTATED mother whose daughter hanged herself after trawling the internet for suicide websites has urged other teens to talk about their problems rather than taking their own lives.

Liz Stephenson, who pleaded for teenagers to "reach out for people to talk to face to face", spoke out after an inquest into the death of her daughter Carina, who hanged herself in a South Yorkshire wood.

Carina, 17, who had just taken part in filming a reality TV show in Australia with her family, had shown no signs she was planning to take her life and there had been no cross words between the family on the day she left home.

But after her death it was found she had been planning to kill herself for at least a month by searching the worldwide web for information on suicide.

A Doncaster inquest heard Carina was a "well balanced, normal, happy and healthy girl" who had not been bullied at school.

The Stephenson family had returned to their home in Branton, Doncaster after four months filming The Colony in the Australian Outback, for the History Channel, an experience Carina had enjoyed.

Carina went missing on May 18 this year after riding off on her bike. Recording a verdict that Carina killed herself, Doncaster coroner Stanley Hooper said it was not his responsibility to ask why she did it.


SUICIDE PLAN OF TRAGIC CARINA -- girl spent time on websites concerned with suicide and death by asphyxiation

Doncaster Star News

27 July 2005

Checks on the computer in Carina's bedroom showed she had spent time on websites concerned with suicide and death by asphyxiation.REALITY TV girl Carina Stephenson had spent months planning her own suicide, an inquest heard.

The Doncaster 17-year-old who hanged herself after filming a series in Australia had been trawling the internet looking for suicide websites for weeks, it was revealed.

Her body was found near her home at Branton last May, with items including a diagram showing how to tie knots close by.

But an inquest in Doncaster yesterday was told she was a "well balanced, normal, happy and healthy girl" who had not been bullied at Armthorpe School, where her mother Liz was also a learning support assistant.

Last year the Stephenson family, of Gatewood Lane, spent four months filming The Colony, in the Australian Outback, for the History Channel - an experience she enjoyed.

Carina, the elder child, went missing on May 18 after riding off on her bike. A police search ended three days later when she was found hanging from a tree in woods off Kilham Lane. Next to her body were found two suicide notes, a tape measure and a diagram of how to tie a knot.

When she left home she had given her mum no indication of being unhappy, but checks on the computer in Carina's bedroom showed she had spent time on websites concerned with suicide and death by asphyxiation, and had e-mailed a suicide note a month before she carried out the act.

She also posted a profile on a website saying her favourite place was a wood near her home.

"It would appear the suicide had been well planned," said the investigating officer, Pc Brandon Brown ...


Reality star's suicide tragedy

Preston Today News

28 July 2005

The parents of a teenage reality TV star, who killed herself after getting tips from a suicide chatroom, today backed the Stop the Pedlars of Death campaign.

Carina Stephenson, 17, killed herself shortly after returning home from Australia where the history documentary The Colony was filmed.

Today her devastated parents John, 43, and Liz, 38, who were also on the programme, said they backed the Evening Post's Stop the Pedlars of Death campaign, which is putting pressure on the government and Internet watchdogs to take action against suicide chatrooms and websites.

Mum Liz said: "We support the Pedlars of Death campaign."

It is the first time they have opened up to a newspaper since the tragedy.

Carina posted a profile on a website saying her favourite place to commit suicide by hanging was a wood near her home.Carina, her parents and younger brother Tyler, 13, joined other families on a film set in Australia to live as a community would have done in the period 1800 to 1815.

An inquest heard that on her return, Carina, from Branton in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, became withdrawn and started to spend a lot of time on the computer. Weeks before her death she told her family she was gay.

Later, after police investigated her computer, they discovered she had accessed a site that showed how to commit suicide by asphyxiation, and she had posted to the site saying her favourite place was some woods near her home.

She went missing on May 18 after setting off on a three-mile bicycle ride to a friend's house, but she never arrived. Three days later police found her hanged in the woods near her home. Her bike and rucksack were found nearby with two suicide notes and a diagram of how to tie a knot.

The History Channel postponed the series until September as a mark of respect for Carina ...


Mother's Web warning after suicide

Thursday, September 8, 2005 Posted: 1332 GMT (2132 HKT)

LONDON, England -- The mother of a teenage girl who hanged herself after looking at suicide Web sites has warned of the dangers they pose.

Carina Stephenson, 17, was found hanged in woods near her home in the village of Branton, near Doncaster in northern England, on May 21 this year.

Before her death she spent four months filming a reality TV show in the Australian outback with her family. The program, called "The Colony," is scheduled to be shown on The History Channel from Sunday.

Carina's mother, Elizabeth Taylor, said she believed her daughter would still be alive if she had not had access to Web sites glorifying suicide. She told Britain's ITV News: "It's horrendous. Some of the things on there that I have logged on to -- I've had to walk away. I've felt physically sick."

Earlier this year an inquest heard how Carina was a "well-balanced, normal, happy and healthy girl" who had not been bullied at school, according to the UK's Press Association. Her headteacher described her as a "gregarious, mature, personable and thoughtful" teenager.

But a police officer said that after Carina went missing her computer was checked, and it was found that she had visited a number of suicide sites. He said a suicide note was found in her e-mails. The court heard that two suicide notes were found close to her body.

A coroner said Carina appeared to have enjoyed her experience filming "The Colony."

The History Channel said the show did not lead to the teenager's apparent suicide. "The whole family came back from Australia nearly six months ago and were very positive about the experience," a spokeswoman told PA. "They had been living the life of a convict family, along with families from Ireland and Australia, and were given a certain amount of provisions to live on. If there had been any upset or distress they could have left and gone home at any point. It's not Big Brother."


My Girl Would Be Alive Without Suicide Websites

Says mother of 17-year-old Carina who hanged herself
By Lucy Thornton

9 September 2005

A MUM whose daughter hanged herself yesterday blamed websites which glorify suicide for her death.

Carina Stephenson spent hours on the internet looking at the sick sites in the weeks before she was found dead in woods.

Elizabeth Taylor said she believed her 17-year-old daughter, who had just filmed a TV reality series, would still be alive if she had not had access to the sites.

The mum-of-two said: "It's horrendous. Some of the things on there that I have logged on to - I've had to walk away. I've felt physicallly sick."

She warned: "It is the type of site and the type of information these sites are giving out, methods on how to commit suicide. They gave her the tools. I am just hoping that anybody who is feeling depressed - those who put their emotions down on computer like this - can just try to reach out to somebody face to face."

Carina had only just returned from spending four months making TV show The Colony in the Australian outback with her parents and brother Tyler, 13, when she killed herself. She had also opened up to her parents she was gay. When Carina went missing last May police checked her computer. They found she had logged on to several websites linked to suicide.

She also visited a site which explained how to commit suicide by asphyxiation. She had posted on the site her favourite place was woods near home in Branton, South Yorks.

When her body was found there on May 21 there was a diagram explaining how to tie a knot. A suicide note was discovered in her emails and two close to her body.

An inquest heard how Carina was a "well balanced, normal, happy and healthy girl".


Suicide sites girl 'secretly got rid of parental controls' to access internet

Paul Whitehouse
Yorkshire Post Today

13 September 2005

A TEENAGER who took her life after viewing internet suicide websites had secretly removed computer controls which should have stopped her accessing potentially dangerous material, the Yorkshire Post has learned.

Carina Stephenson used her knowledge of computers to override the controls in the program designed to give parents control over what could be obtained from the internet. Instead, she installed her own replacement program which allowed her to view unrestricted a range of websites offering information about suicide.

She used the details she gathered from one site to plan her death in Doncaster earlier this year, prompting a campaign for a legal clampdown to bar access to such sites from computers in this country.

The ease with which the 17-year-old was able to override the controls meant to keep her safe demonstrates the difficulty faced by society in keeping youngsters safe from illicit material on the web.

Her parents, John Stephenson and Liz Taylor, believed Carina was able to view only innocent material because they had bought a computer which allowed them to set parental restrictions to censor what could be viewed. It was only after her death that they discovered she had the expertise to override the program controls.

Her mother has now launched a campaign, backed by the Yorkshire Post, to stop such sites. She said: "We put the parental controls on but kids have ways around these things. They are taught from an early age at school how to work them. Whatever controls were on, she has deactivated them and reinstalled her own."

Because domestic controls could be deactivated, she believes the answer is to make internet service providers answerable for the access they allow. "My daughter typed in 'How to kill myself' and went off and searched for all the ways she could do it. Everyone knows stuff like this should not be published and these sort of providers have to take responsibility.

"The method Carina used came off the internet. It was followed very, very precisely. Without that it would have been impossible for her to have known how to do it. If she had gone to the library asking for that sort of information she wouldn't have got it and there is no reason why the internet should be any different."

Ms Taylor, 38, describes herself as "just a mum" but has taken on the huge task of single-handedly trying to achieve a change in the law which would protect children from that type of material. "I don't intend to let this drop, I have to make it happen so that my life counts for something more. I have taken on responsibility for this because I want to protect people from this, from the pain and heartache," she said.

Carina was found hanged in woods near the family's home in the village of Branton earlier this year. The family had recently returned from Australia where it had taken part in reality TV show Colony, which is currently being screened. Her death was confirmed as suicide at an inquest but relatives only became aware of Carina's fascination with taking her life as the computer was examined afterwards.

One interim measure Ms Taylor is suggesting is to make internet service providers legally obliged to send users regular statements, detailing which websites have been visited from their account.

The Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) insist its members act in the same way as the postal service, delivering information rather than publishing it. It operates a "notice and take down" procedure to remove illegal material if it is made aware of it but states: "ISPA firmly believes ISPs should not have the power of judge and jury over the legality, suitability and appropriateness of the content that is contained on their servers."



11 October 2005

THE mother of a teenager who took her own life after logging on to suicide websites backed the Mirror's campaign yesterday for an internet clampdown. Liz Taylor's daughter, Carina Stephenson, 17, hanged herself. She had read tips on the sick sites on how to commit suicide.

She said: "While I thought my daughter was tucked up in bed, she was reading about death on the internet."

Yesterday, we revealed how Chris Aston, 25, and Maria Williams, 42, killed themselves in Britain's first internet suicide pact. They are thought to have met through a chatroom on the Alternative Suicide Holiday (ASH) website.

Liz, who had taken part in a reality TV show in Australia with her family shortly before Carina killed herself, called for a crackdown on the sites. She said: "I thank the Mirror for investigating the ASH site which I believe, among others, my daughter viewed. The Government needs to act."

Liz has set up a petition on calling for a change in the law to make it more difficult to access suicide websites. Health Minister Rosie Winterton said: "I, along with my colleagues in Government, am doing everything in my power to make these sites hard to access and to protect the most vulnerable people."

A Google spokesman said: "If we are notified by the authorities of illegal content in our index, we will remove the web pages in question."




Grieving mother urges ban on suicide sites -- Daughter sought 'suicide pact' with three other girls on internet

Yorkshire Post Today

09 November 2005

One of Carina Stephenson's last photosA MOTHER has told how she blames herself for her daughter's suicide, never realising how she was secretly visiting horrific internet sites glorifying death.

Doncaster teenager Carina Stephenson earlier this year hanged herself in woodlands near her home at the age of just 17.

Now her mother Elizabeth Taylor is calling for a ban on such sites.

Ms Taylor was shocked to discover after her daughter's death that she had been trawling sites on how to kill yourself and had even set up a suicide pact with three other girls she had met in chatrooms.

She said: "The pain I feel is unbelievable. I keep wondering how I could have failed to see what was happening. "There is now a huge hole in our lives that is impossible to fill. Sometimes I wish Carina had been murdered, because then I would have someone to blame."

Ms Taylor has spoken about how her daughter spent a lot of time in suicide chatrooms with a macabre obsession with death.

She was also shocked to discover her deeply disturbed daughter had been self harming for a number of years prior to her death. She said: "I discovered to my horror that Carina was visiting internet sites dedicated to death ..."

She wants them banned, to save other teenagers.





Teenage girl films her suicide

11/05/2006 22:20 - (SA)

Marlise Scheepers, Beeld

Johannesburg - Friends and relatives arrived in a state of shock at the Emmerentia home to console the parents of a 15-year-old girl who hanged herself on Wednesday and filmed her suicide.

The girl used a dog leash to hang herself from a security gate on Wednesday afternoon while her mother was at home.

The police found a digital camera where she hanged herself and it is now in their possession.

Police superintendent Chris Wilken said the girl's room looked out on the garden around the house.

''The security gate from which she hanged herself is in front of a sliding door opening to the garden,'' said Wilken on Thursday.

The girl apparently told her mother she was going to lie down on the bed in her room. Her father was at a cafe nearby.

First filmed suicide

On his return, he and his wife found their daughter's body in her room.

The family was too shocked and traumatised to speak about the suicide on Thursday.

It is not clear how the camera was positioned to film the suicide.

Pretoria forensic criminologist Dr Pixie du Toit, who is doing research into teenage suicides, said it was the first time she'd experienced one where the youngster had filmed the deed.

''It's the first time I've heard of this. It might be associated with new technology - instead of a letter, using a camera to give a message. Suicide has a contagious element and the case worries me personally because similar ones may start cropping up."

Usually are planned in advance

''The incident is particularly unusual because filming the suicide has an element of violence which does not ordinarily occur among teenage girls who commit suicide.''

Du Toit said suicides were planned for a long period and did not have only a single cause.


Film-suicide girl had cult ties

Hanged girl: Shocking twist, Teenage girl films her suicide

14/05/2006 22:40 - (SA)

Pieter JordaanAimee de la Harpe videotaped her own hanging

Johannesburg - A teenage girl from Johannesburg who filmed her own suicide last week apparently was involved with a pagan cult and had earlier mentioned her thoughts about suicide on an internet website.

The body of Aimee de la Harpe, 15, was found by her stepfather in their house on Wednesday afternoon. She had hanged herself from a security gate with a dog leash.

Superintendent Chris Wilken confirmed that police were investigating images of the scene in a camera. No suicide note was found.

Aimee regularly discussed her depression with visitors to a blog on the website

She made her final posting about two days before her death. On the blog, she told about her biological father's suicide a few years ago, her poor self-image and depression, her visits and strange obsession with cemeteries, as well as wild drinking parties with friends.

"My self-image is at a low since my grandmother told me that my friends had left me because I'm a drunk junkie whore," she wrote in her penultimate posting.

Suicide 'is not selfish'

She also wrote that she was wondering whether it was better to wait for a natural death, or to die before something bad happened to you.

"Is suicide brave? In some way, I suppose it is.

"It's the knowledge that you are entering a dark place and you are withdrawing yourself in advance from a situation you cannot handle.

"I have never considered it to be selfish," she wrote.

An informed source said on Sunday that Aimee had regular contact with a pagan cult on the internet. She apparently also met them personally and allegedly also practised self-mutilation.

A friend, known only as Daniel, stated on the website on Friday that media reports revealing Aimee's postings were "sick".

"I'll soon ask that her account on the website be closed. How can we leave Aimee's blogs open to attacks like these?"

Dr Pixie du Toit, a forensic criminologist investigating teen suicides, said Aimee's reaching out to strangers on the internet and possibly also cults, indicated continuous rejection and "tremendous psychological pain".

"She probably felt that people close to her didn't realise her need and wanted to convey a clear message with her death (and the video recording of it).

School friends described Aimee to Du Toit as a loner, "artistic and eccentric".


Continue to: Japan's Internet Suicide Cults

Return to: 2004 (Part One)