Internet chat user killed himself online
A builder who killed himself was found when police were alerted by users of an online chat room, an inquest has heard.
Leon Jenkins, 43, was found hanged at his flat in Cardiff in June, the hearing at Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taff, was told.
The inquest heard he had been active on the Paltalk online chat forums at the time he died.
Assistant Coroner Rachel Knight said there was no evidence of any goading of Mr Jenkins online.
She said concerns had previously been raised that Paltalk was an “unhelpful website” following the deaths of two other British men who were also known to have used it.
But she added: “I haven’t seen anything to make me believe he was being encouraged.”
‘He had become withdrawn’
Police broke into his home after being contacted by an online administrator for the Paltalk forums, a service that allows individuals to talk to each other online across the world.
The officers were met with “foreign accents” coming from a computer, asking if what they could see was real.
One voice replied: “Oh my God – it was real.”
The coroner’s court was told that a live online streaming camera was found and disconnected, as officers attempted to resuscitate Mr Jenkins.
Phone records showed Mr Jenkins’ last outgoing call was made to a woman from Tennessee in the USA, who had been his girlfriend despite the pair never meeting in person.
Miss Knight said of Mr Jenkins: “He did live life in reality but he did live part of that online and spent quite a lot of his time online.”
Investigators spoke to several individuals who used the chat rooms with Mr Jenkins from Canada, the US and Australia.
One told police that Mr Jenkins was “a bit of an eccentric”.
The inquest heard that he had a history of mental health issues that had required intervention in the past.
The coroner was told Mr Jenkins had become withdrawn since March and was not answering phone calls from family members.
Recording a conclusion of suicide, the coroner Rachel Knight said it was clear that Mr Jenkins had a network of friends around the world online who were concerned for him.
She said it was “more likely than not that he intended to end his life”.
If you or someone you know are feeling emotionally distressed, BBC Action Line has details of organisations offering advice and support.
Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-46521930
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