The Bath Chronicle
SUICIDE ON THE INTERNET
15:00 - 07 April 2003
A grieving father has attacked websites offering advice on suicide after his teenage son trawled the internet for information on the best way to kill himself. Tim Piper, a bright A-Level student, was found hanged in a wardrobe in his bedroom by his horrified mother.
The 17-year-old from Chippenham had left a handwritten suicide note which read: "I love you Mum and Dad. I always will."
But his parents only discovered later that Tim had been logging on to internet sites filled with information on the easiest way to commit suicide.
Tim's devastated parents Hazel and Martyn and their MP James Gray have called for the horrific sites to be shut down.
The sick websites rate suicide in terms of ease and success rate.
One such site, calling itself Church of Euthanasia, even tells people to "do a good job" when they commit suicide.
It reads: "Suicide is hard work. It's easy to do it badly, or make rookie mistakes. As with many things, the best results are achieved by thorough research and careful preparation."
The site goes on to discuss the pros and cons of death by shooting, hanging, crashing a car, jumping, slitting your wrists, drowning, freezing, overdosing or gassing yourself with nitrous oxide, exhaust fumes and even oven gas.
Tim got seven A stars in his GCSE examinations and his teachers at Sheldon Sixth Form College in Chippenham were predicting he would achieve four A grades at A and AS level.
The youngster was tipped to win a place at Cambridge University.
Hazel Piper told the inquest into his death at Chippenham that her son was unhappy but put his behaviour down to being "a teenager".
Tim and brother Jonathon were part of the Genesis twin study and filled in questionnaires every few years. In his last form Tim, then 14, wrote that he was unhappy.
Hazel said: "I asked him about it and he said he was OK.
I thought he was just a 14-yearold. I thought he was becoming more comfortable with himself."
Martyn Piper condemned the websites and demanded action to take them off the net.
He said: "I am appalled. It is dreadful they should be available to people who are upset and looking for that sort of thing."
Police found graphic information on different means of suicide when they searched Tim's personal computer.
One such site called ASH (Alternative Suicide Holiday) gives advice on the best type of gun to shoot yourself with.
James Gray, Conservative MP for North Wilts, said: "I am very saddened to hear of this case.
The Internet is a very worrying instrument."
"If we can stop some of the dreadful information on the Internet then that would be very good."
Inspector Paul Ginger of Wiltshire Police's Computer Crime Unit, said: "This is a very sad case. It had a big effect on officers here.
"These websites are a concern nationwide, they are impossible to police as there are different laws on what is acceptable in every country.
"How they control access is a question I can't answer."
Coroner Nigel Brookes recorded a verdict of suicide.