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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.

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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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