Mums march on Westminster in bid to shut down suicide websites
TWO mothers whose sons took their own lives are joining forces to pile pressure on the Government to ban websites selling 'death in a bag' suicide kits.
Patti Boyle, 54, of Purley, and Joanna Lane, 64, of Coulsdon, will march on Westminster today armed with a petition to demand ministers shut down websites "earning money from the death of our children".
The mothers' demands come days after the Government announced a new suicide-reducing strategy, ring-fencing £1.5 million to research possible preventable measures, but which stops short of exploring the advantages of an outright ban on suicide websites.
Mrs Boyle, whose son Kevin – a high-profile chef trained by Jamie Oliver who took his own life after ordering a suicide kit online aged 26 – said: "I want to see suicide websites banned. I want them stopped at point of entry to the UK.
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"These websites are defended under the auspices of freedom of speech which unfortunately means these people take this to mean they can do what they want. But they can't.
"These people are earning money from the death of our children.
"I want the people selling these web kits brought to justice because in this country assisted suicide is against the law.
"It's about time the Government stands up and does the job we pay it to do and introduces a ban."
Mrs Boyle, who revealed the website Kevin used was traced to Honduras, Central America, is calling for a blanket internet service provider filter which effectively bans access anywhere in the UK.
The 54-year-old lecturer, of Old Lodge Lane, is currently on an awareness-raising March For Life – a hike from Northern Ireland, where Kevin is buried, to Parliament – where she will present the petition to ministers on Wednesday.
Mrs Lane, of Southwood Avenue, whose son Christopher took his own life in 2008 aged 31, after ordering a book on the internet, will also use the Government's announcement to push for stricter laws.
She said: "Christopher was able to do it very easily. Me and Patti were both parents at Reedham Park School and we feel very strongly about this.
"Although Christopher didn't buy a 'death in a bag' kit, I feel sure he would have now, and I feel very strongly these sites should be banned.
"People argue that people who want to kill themselves will do anyway, but it makes it so quick and easy.
"People can feel suicidal on a Monday and be dead on the Tuesday without having any cooling off period or any time to reconsider what they are doing.
"I think changing legislation will save lives. It will certainly give families more time to step in and understand what is happening."
The Government's strategy review, announced on Monday, will consider increasing the "availability and take-up of effective parental controls to reduce access to harmful websites", but stops short of considering an outright ban.
Around 4,200 people commit suicide every year, with the rate highest amongst men aged 35 to 49.