PAPYRUS Welcomes US Conviction

PAPYRUS welcomes the guilty verdict in the US on William Melchert-Dinkel, charged with aiding suicide.

17 March 2011 - PAPYRUS the national charity for prevention of young suicide welcomes Tuesday’s guilty verdict in the US on William Melchert-Dinkel, the former Minnesota nurse, charged with two counts of aiding suicide.

A judge has found him guilty of aiding two suicides, after he had declined a jury trial. One of the two victims cited is in Canada, the other Mark Drybrough from Coventry, England. Mr Melchert-Dinkel was accused of cruising online pro-suicide chat rooms where he posed as a female nurse, offering compassion to depressed people and entering into fake suicide pacts.

Sentencing is scheduled to begin on 4th May, though Mr Melchert-Dinkel’s lawyer has said his client plans to appeal.

“We welcome the verdict that indicates US ruling that it is illegal to incite suicide and we hope that it signals a stern warning to anyone in the UK, as well as worldwide, who provokes or assists others to take their own lives,” commented Paul Kelly, the PAPYRUS Trustee who leads the charity’s campaign for greater safety on the internet.

PAPYRUS has campaigned since 2003 for stronger action to be taken to curb the deliberate use of the internet to promote suicide, especially amongst the vulnerable young. The charity has sought clarification of UK law with a view to making clear the regulations on life-threatening material and actions.

The charity believes that this case demonstrates a number of the dangers of the internet if used by the ill-intentioned to promote and encourage suicide, rather than to offer help and support to those who need it: the opportunity to prey on vulnerable people; the anonymity and scope for deception it offers to the perpetrators; and the ability to cross national borders.

Editorial contact for further information and interviews:
Rosemary Vaux at PAPYRUS press office
tel 020 8943 5343 mobile 07792 72 62 41