A 17-year-old Russian girl has been accused of masterminding a notorious Blue Whale suicide group, inciting ‘dozens’ of vulnerable children to take their own lives, police have said.
The teenager issued threats to her victims to murder them or their family members if they failed to complete tasks she set them involving cutting themselves with razor blades and other acts of self-harm.
Footage released by police show them searching the girl’s home in Kamchatka, far-east Russia, finding evidence linked to the ‘suicide game’, including chilling drawings of figures with their wrists cut, and a portrait of the inventor of Blue Whale.
Accused: Russian police have released footage of the 17-year-old accused of masterminding a notorious Blue Whale suicide group, inciting ‘dozens’ of children to take their own lives
In one shot, the girl, dressed in a black t-shirt can be seen standing next to a woman believed to be her mother, still wearing a bathrobe.
The teenage ‘death group administrator’ used threats against parents or siblings of her victims as added pressure on them to obey her and commit suicide, say Russian state investigators.
She also threatened the victims with being murdered in a sinister new twist to such online groups which pose rising concerns to police in many countries.
‘This administrator was sending particular tasks – often life-threatening – to each of several dozen members of the group,’ said Colonel Irina Volk, of the Russian Interior Ministry.
‘In contrast to similar groups, teenagers in this group were blackmailed with death threats against them or their relatives for not completing the tasks.’
Police raid: The teenager can be seen standing next to a woman believed to be her mother, as police search through their home in Kamchatka, far east Russia
Evil: The teenager issued threats to her victims to murder them or their family members if they failed to complete tasks she set them involving self-harm
Gruesome: The teenager’s room contained chilling drawings of figures with their wrists cut, and a portrait of the inventor of Blue Whale, Philipp Budeikin, also known as Philipp Fox
The lethal Blue Whale ‘game’ involves 50 tasks – in as many days – aimed at ‘creating psychologically traumatising situations’.
The tasks include everything from watching horror movies to waking at strange hours, and self harming. Eventually exhausted and confused, they are told to commit suicide.
The teenage suspect – who cannot be named because she is underage – told alleged victims she ‘was a man’.
She is shown barefoot in a police video as police examine books and drawings in her flat, many linked to suicide.
Her possessions included a drawing she made of Philipp Budeikin, the 22-year-old man accused of being the ‘inventor’ of the Blue Whale game.
Budeikin, who also went by the name Philipp Fox, was jailed for three years and four months in the country’s first conviction involving the Blue Whale game, in July.
There was shock at the ‘soft’ sentence from a closed-door trial which related to his confession to two cases in which the ‘brainwashed’ victims were saved.
Earlier, Budeikin had been investigated for alleged links to 16 suicides in different regions of Russia, and had been reported as a key mastermind of the social media craze.
He had appeared to confess to provoking 17 deaths, but these cases were not included in his trial.
Incarcerated: Philipp Budeikin, 22, was jailed for three years and four months, for ‘inventing’ the Blue Whale game linked to dozens of suicides
He branded victims of the game as ‘biological waste’ and told police that they were ‘happy to die’ and he was ‘cleansing society’, said investigators.
This week, a 21-year-old man was detained near Moscow and accused on inciting adolescent girls to take their own lives.
The detained 21 year old from Zheleznodorozhny was a ‘computer geek’ who believed teenagers were ‘wicked’ and did ‘not deserve to live’, reported the Russian media citing police.
He urged victims to slash their skin with a razor or take a selfie on a roof top.
He confessed to ‘forcing’ young people to commit suicide, and faces up to 15 years in jail.
In June, police arrested Ilya Sidorov, a 26-year-old postman from Moscow, who confessed to seeking to coax as many as 32 schoolchildren to commit suicide though the Blue Whale game.
Deaths of children and young adults from around the world have been linked with the sinister Blue Whale game, including three young people in the United States, five in India and around a dozen in Brazil.
In Russia, some 20 suicides have been officially linked to the game, but politicians and the media have suggested the figure runs into the hundreds.
Newspaper Novaya Gazeta alleged that of 130 suicides of children in Russia between November 2015 and April 2016 almost all were ‘members of one group or other on the internet’.
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