Evil web scam killed my boy - West Fife woman warns parents

Published: 16 Aug 2013 09:005 comments

POLICE have launched a probe into a cyber blackmail case after a West Fife youth took his own life by jumping from the Forth Road Bridge.

The 17-year-old became caught up in a webcam scam which dupes victims and obtains video material which scammers then threaten to send to friends and family.

His devastated mum has spoken to the Press to raise awareness the dangers of internet blackmail hoping to prevent others falling victim.

The Press broke the story exclusively yesterday (Thursday) morning and has since been picked up by national media throughout the UK. We respected his mum's request for anonymity both for herself and her son but that has not been respected by some other media outlets.

The apprentice mechanic, from a happy family background and with a bright future ahead of him, was told if he did not pay money into an account his life would not be worth living and he would be better off dead.

Within an hour he had taken his own life.

The distraught young man walked past women on the walkway of the bridge then jumped into the river.

He was still alive when pulled out by rescuers but died a short time later.

The scam operates by conning young men into thinking they are having a Skype chatroom conversation with a girl of around their own age but in fact they are being recorded.

The blackmailers then find out personal details of their prey via Facebook and threaten to send the video to friends and family.

The victim's mum told the Press, "He was not the type of person who let things get him down.

"He was a happy laddie, not depressed and the last type of person you would think would take their life.

"Knowing him as I do, he has felt embarrassed, horrified and has thought he's let everybody down.

"We're a very close family and I just wished he had come to me and said something.

"I would have gone on the computer and told them to P-off.

"When I feel strong enough I want to do something to stop this happening to other young people.

"I'll go to the high schools and tell them what can happen.

"If I can stop this from happening to other young people then I feel I'll have done something for him.

"He was the type to laugh things off. I still can't believe this has happened and expect him to walk in the door any minute.

"He was coming up to his 18th birthday so it's not as if we could have been checking what he was doing on his lap-top.

"However, he wasn't doing anything wrong just what anyone his age might do but this scam is all about exploiting young people.

"Even if he came to me and said he needed money we'd have helped him but we knew nothing about any of it."

The tragedy unfolded on the evening of Monday 15th July. The teenager had asked the blackmailers via his lap-top, "What can I do to stop you showing this to my family?

He was told to pay money into a named account or his life would not be worth living and he would be "better off dead".

He replied "bye". That message was sent from his lap-top at 7.25pm.

He then sent a text message to his nan saying he was heading home but he jumped from the Forth Road Bridge at around 8.15pm.

A collection at the youth's funeral raised £700 for the RNLI at South Queensferry.

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  • netbook
    61 posts
    Aug 16, 09:26
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    Completely heartbreaking story. These vile scam have to be stopped as a matter of priority and young people fully alerted to the risks.

    I really feel for this poor boy and his family.

    Recommend?   Yes 36     No 0

  • xxhuskyxx
    4 posts
    Aug 16, 11:31
    Report abuse

    God Bless you as parents, as I feel your pain and anger.

    RIP son, you were a credit to your family not an embarrassment.

    All of this heartache for a scam!!

    If I can help you in any way, please just ask

    xx Husky xx

    Recommend?   Yes 21     No 0

  • kaka30
    511 posts
    Aug 16, 15:16
    Report abuse

    I actually believe that the dangers of the internet as a whole should be brought to everybodies attention. Alot of people dont realise that everything they write or every photo they post, regardless of hiting delete, it is in cyber space for eternity & could come back and haunt you.

    A young man, serving his time, from a loving close knit family, his whole life ahead of him, gone, its heartbreaking.

    Recommend?   Yes 28     No 0

  • Melissa411
    1 post
    Aug 18, 01:37
    Report abuse

    Awk... So so sad.

    R.I.P. Sweetheart, and my thoughts and prayers go out to your family. You did NOTHING wrong. If only you had been of sound mind, no thanks to the scum who caused this, and have calmed down a wee bit and realised, actually there is NOTHING more precious than life.

    The internet must be regulated and policed more thouroughly (Ask.fm girl commited suicide due to cyberbullying and now this.

    I am a panic merchant and I

    would say that I am very tolerant, fair,

    but strict when it matters about

    certain things and very like my Dad when it comes to my

    thoughts on parenting. I think

    that I will be a very paranoid

    parent though. I look forward to being a parent one day with my Fiance as I want to give my

    children everything that we didn't

    get from our so called Mother

    and I want to be the Mother to

    them that I never had and

    needed as a child and teenager.

    I worry constantly about how fast

    kids are growing up today etc..

    a lot quicker than when I was at school and that really was only 8 years ago. My worries were

    confirmed today when my wee Sister showed me a 'Tumblr’ (It’s a social networking site. Never heard of it so I must be getting old!) of one of her 15 year old friends. I was, and still am absolutely horrified and

    shocked by what I seen. EXTREMELY

    revealing photos. Topless with

    just skimpy underwear on,

    covering her

    boobs with her hands, sitting in

    skimp underwear with her legs wide open leaving absolutely

    nothing to the imagine, It

    was absolutely disgusting.

    THAT is why as much as I can't

    wait, I am terrified of becoming a

    parent one day!

    She's 15 years

    old!!! Absolutely ANYONE (not just friends) can access her site and look at those pictures!

    Paedophiles, rapists, serial

    killers etc. I am in my 20's and would never dream of showing so

    much of myself to the world (let

    alone my best friend) at the age I am now, a consenting adult

    never mind when I was 15 years old!! I

    am absolutely appalled and this is what truly terrifies about

    parenthood, all the worry about things like this.

    However, when

    the time comes, I will do everything in my power to ensure

    that my child does not have

    access to any socia networking

    sites until they are at least

    15/16, when they do access these sites, I

    will approve them first and

    monitor/regulate what they post

    online etc. and I will have the

    best parental controls money can buy

    for any laptop or computer in

    our home. I will never allow my

    underage child to own their

    own laptop to use in their bedroom

    either. I know my Dad wasn't quite as strict as

    that with us, Facebook etc.

    wasn't really around when we were at school anyway but he is exactly the same as how I am now

    with morals and values about

    these things.

    I used to 'hate' (I

    say it like that because I never ever hated him, I always loved you to bits, he's my Daddy).

    him as I thought he was so

    strict and I often thought that he was deliberately 'ruining my life'.

    Obviously, when I turned

    17/18, I realised why he had

    done all those things and I am so thankful of it now. I don't want my children to 'hate' me and

    hope that they understand

    when they are older too. The serious risks of the internet is sickening.

    Recommend?   Yes 2     No 10

  • stormxxx
    296 posts
    Aug 19, 03:37
    Report abuse

    Very sad but I think we will hear so much more cases like this. Nothin will get done because these sites bring in money which is clearly the 1st priority in our society today. As in our 'leaders'! Right now? For everyone's sake, I wish a great hole would open an swallow us all up...too much needless pain but nobody in power will even try to help. Sad, sad times. My thoughts are with this young man's family.

    Recommend?   Yes 2     No 0