The National Crime Agency (NCA) has revealed that 88 individuals in the UK have died after purchasing a poisonous substance from a seller in Canada. While the NCA cannot definitively establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the chemical and the deaths, it is currently investigating potential criminal offenses related to the incidents.
Kenneth Law, the accused seller, was arrested in May on charges of assisting suicide in Canada. Law is alleged to have operated websites that sold equipment designed to facilitate suicide, including a poisonous chemical, which he shipped to customers across more than 40 countries.
British police have undertaken welfare visits to numerous addresses across the UK to trace buyers who ordered the substance from Law. The NCA coordinated these checks, identifying 232 individuals in the UK who purchased from Law over a two-year period. Out of this group, 88 individuals have since died.
The agency emphasized its support for the loved ones of those who passed away, and NCA Deputy Director Craig Turner stated that an investigation into potential criminal offenses in the UK is underway, in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service.
This revelation has prompted discussions about the regulation of online communities and the sale of harmful substances. The father of one victim, Tom Parfett, who took his own life after purchasing the chemical from Law, criticized policing efforts and called for stronger action against online platforms that exploit vulnerable individuals. He also advocated for the regulation of online communities that encourage harmful behavior.
Kenneth Law remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in court later this month. In Canada, aiding or counseling a person to die by suicide can lead to a 14-year prison sentence, in line with the country’s criminal code.