Call of Duty Linked to Child Suicides

Coroner links four teen deaths in the North of England to video game

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Call of Duty Linked to Child Suicides
John Pollard, a Stockport coroner has expressed 'great concern' and linked playing an unnamed version of Call of Duty to the deaths of four teenaged boys in the North of England.

Pollard - who was also involved in bringing mass murderer Dr Harold Shipman to trial - made the comments after a hearing into the death of 16 year-old William Menzies, "who was studying A-levels in biology, physics, politics and psychology at one of Britain’s top grammar schools, had shown no signs of depression or distress before his sudden death." The boy was found dead on February 17th, having suffocated himself. He was discovered with this hands tied behind his back.

The Daily Telegraph also reports that, "In March 2012 another teenager Callum Green (reported here), hanged himself after playing Call of Duty with his stepfather." The Williams' inquest was also told that the the game has also been linked to the deaths of two other unnamed teenagers.

Mr Pollard, on recording a verdict of suicide stated, “I have to say, and this is after three or four inquests into the deaths of teens, the Call of Duty game seems to be figuring in recent activity before death. It concerns me greatly.

"It has figured in a number of deaths which I'm investigating. I suspect but I don't know because I don't have enough evidence, that William may have been experimenting with something or deliberately intending but we haven't got evidence.

“There was no note or indication he was feeling down or distressed."

According to William Menzies' father, "Nothing about him caused concern. He was very taken with his studies and he enjoyed playing his Xbox. The game he always played was Call of Duty.

"He was rather self-contained, he didn't like going out a great deal. He didn't drink or smoke, he was the opposite to that. He had exams coming up but that wouldn't cause him any worry as he was a straight-A student. He never threatened self-harm to my knowledge.

"We had been playing badminton together in the last few months and we were speaking about that and normal things.

The coroner's inquest heard that Williams "was found dead on February 17 during half-term, after Mr Menzies gave him the science fiction novel 'Never Let Me Go' to read.

"William helped his mother and brother make lunch at about 1pm before heading to his bedroom where he was found dead just a few hours later at about 4.30pm."

Mr Menzies said: "I would say William is a person who made his own mind up and carried things out so given the apparatus and method used I would say that there is clear suggestion he intended it.

Detective Inspector David Moores of Greater Manchester Police said that while journals were discovered in the boy's room, "The journals had juvenile comments in but nothing significant. I was able to satisfy no suspicious circumstances despite the fact his hands were tied.

"The computers were tested to see his internet history and there was nothing of any interest and nothing to suggest he had been researching any sites."

Sources: The Daily Telegraph and others.

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