Friday, November 21, 2008

Horror as teenager commits suicide live online

A 19-year-old man has committed suicide live on the internet encouraged by others who were watching, according to reports.

The teenager, named as Abraham K Biggs, from Broward County, Florida, took an overdose of pills while broadcasting himself on, a live video streaming website.

On a chat forum he told others he was going to commit suicide and posted a suicide note on another forum before taking the pills and turning on his webcam.

The 19-year-old lay on his bed and only after several hours of no movement did others begin to take him seriously. With the video still running, forum members managed to contact the local police who eventually broke down the door, found the body and switched off the camera. Up to 1,500 people were viewing the feed, according to one report.

A video clip posted on the net shows a police officer entering the room, his handgun drawn, as he checks for any sign of life. Local police said they were investigating a suspected suicide and the death was confirmed by the Broward County medical examiner.

Mr Biggs was a member of the forum under the name CandyJunkie and was known as Feels Like Ecstasy on He apparently had threatened before to commit suicide.

On Wednesday he went to the forum and detailed the amount of drugs he was going to take. The moderators of the forum reportedly did not take him seriously because of his past threats and other forum members encouraged him to carry out his threat.

Mr Biggs then posted his suicide note, where he said he had hurt other people and hated himself for being a failure. "I am an a@#hole. I have let everyone down and I feel as though I will never change or never improve. I am in love with a girl and I know that I am not good enough for her," he wrote,

Mr Biggs then posted his suicide note, where he said he had hurt other people and hated himself for being a failure. As he lay motionless on the bed after taking the pills, many forum members continued to insult him, believing that it was staged.

One forum member pleaded with other forum members to contact the police and tried to e-mail the Miami-Dade police. He borrowed his father's mobile and spoke to police who directed him to the Broward County Sheriff's Department. About an hour later, the authorities arrived at the teenager's house. is an open network of thousands of live streaming channels.

It is based in San Francisco and is named after Justin Kan, its first star.

"We regret that this has occurred and respect the privacy of the broadcaster and his family during this time. We have policies in place to discourage the distribution of distressing content and our community monitors the site accordingly. This content was flagged by our community, reviewed, and removed according to our terms of service," CEO Michael Seibel said in an e-mail.

The video feed has been taken down but video clips have been posted elsewhere on the net and copies of the suicide note can also be found.

Many of the forum posts have been deleted by those who made them.

There have been growing concerns that internet forums encourage people to take their lives. Last year a British man hung himself witnessed by about 100 internet chatroom users. Kevin Whitrick, 42, from Telford, Shropshire, killed himself after being goaded in an "insult" chatroom at the Paltalk website. One of the users is claimed to have told him:

"F***ing do it. Get on with it."

According to one charity which works to prevent suicide, there have been at least 17 deaths in the UK since 2001 which involved chatrooms or sites which give advice on suicide methods. Campaigners want the police to investigate and prosecute those involved in encouraging online suicides.

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