UK & World News
Suicide Book Slated After Teen Toni Haw's Death
A 19-year-old woman apparently killed herself with the help of a freely available suicide instruction book, an inquest has heard.
Toni Haw, from York, died in February following an overdose of medicine and alcohol.
Her boyfriend, Alan Hutchinson, 30, then killed himself after her funeral.
An inquest earlier this week heard how a book was found in Miss Haw's bedroom which discussed methods of suicide.
York Coroner Donald Coverdale condemned the independently published book as a "wicked publication".
As reported in the York Press, Mr Coverdale said: "It is a very, very disturbing book and I am deeply shocked that it is possible to acquire a book like this.
"It has to be said that if Toni Haw had not had access to this publication, she may not have taken the overdose which ended her life."
He said the method used by Miss Haw was specifically set out in the book.
"I find it alarming that the book is, presumably, freely available for purchase," the coroner said.
Samaritans has now joined the coroner in condemning the publication, which has not been named following guidance from the charity.
It said the book "raises important practical questions about the regulation of potentially harmful information".
A spokesman for the charity said: "We know it's a criminal offence to encourage or assist suicide in the UK.
"Publishing detailed information about methods of suicide, be it online, in print or in the mainstream media, can be extremely dangerous for vulnerable people.
"There is extensive research to show that 'copycat' suicide attempts are often made based on information people have been exposed to.
"Samaritans has been working with the media on the responsible reporting of suicide for two decades.
"And this very sad case raises important practical questions about the regulation of potentially harmful information from other sources."
The coroner returned an open verdict in the case of Miss Haw and suicide in the case of Mr Hutchinson.
:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 08457 90 90 90 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.