Skip to main content

Reports: Teen Daniel Perry commits suicide over Skype blackmail scam

By Laura Smith-Spark and Saskya Vandoorne, CNN
August 16, 2013 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Funeral held for Hannah Smith, 14; family says her suicide followed online bullying
  • Daniel Perry took his own life after he fell victim to a Web blackmail scam, UK reports say
  • "Heart-rending that a young person could be deceived in such a way," charity says
  • Police in Scotland say they are investigating a teenage boy's suicide

London (CNN) -- Reports that a Scottish teenager took his own life after becoming the victim of an alleged Internet blackmail scam have heightened concerns in Britain over online abuse.

Daniel Perry, from Dunfermline, was reportedly the victim of blackmailers who recorded his interactions via Skype with a person he believed was an American girl his own age.

They then threatened to show his family the footage unless he paid up, UK media reports say. Instead, the 17-year-old jumped from a bridge last month.

News of his death comes on the heels of outrage over the suicide of 14-year-old Hannah Smith, from Leicestershire in England. Her family said she took her own life after she was bullied on the social networking website ask.fm, having gone there to seek advice on the skin condition eczema.

Her funeral was held Friday at St. Mary's Church in her hometown of Lutterworth.

David Cameron: 'Don't go there'
Two arrested in cyberbullying case
Policing the Web for cyberbullies

The mourners were asked by Hannah's father to wear brightly colored clothes, not black, the church's vicar, the Rev. Charlie Styles, said in an online statement beforehand.

Styles said the informal service would "provide a focal point for the community in a time of shock and great sadness."

Daniel was also taunted and urged to kill himself by trolls on the Ask.fm website, The Daily Telegraph newspaper said.

The Telegraph quoted Daniel's mother, Nicola, on Friday as saying the people behind the video scam he fell prey to are "clever and dangerous" and had manipulated the footage.

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

Police in Scotland told CNN they are investigating the circumstances of a teenage boy's death. They declined to identify him or give further details.

A leading UK children's protection charity, the NSPCC, urged children and young people to find out how to protect themselves online -- and to seek help if they found themselves targeted by bullies or blackmailers.

"It's absolutely heart-rending that a young person could be deceived in such a way, with such a tragic outcome and our thoughts are with this young man's family," said Elaine Chalmers, area manager for the NSPCC's helpline in Scotland.

"If you've only seen a static picture of someone online, they may not be who they say they are. It's important not to send people pictures of yourself or take part in video calls if you aren't sure who you are speaking to.

"If you have been deceived online, you need to remember that you aren't to blame and you are not the only person that this has happened to."

Beatbullying, an international bullying prevention charity, has called for a boycott of ask.fm. Some companies pulled their advertising in protest over Hannah's death.

Ask.fm said it was ready to work with the police in that case. "We would like to reassure all users and parents of users that we are committed to ensuring that our site is a safe environment," the site said. "We do not condone bullying of any kind, or any form of unacceptable use of our site."

Read: 2 face charges in case of Canadian girl who hanged self after alleged rape

News stream blog: How to fight online bullies

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT