A man hanged himself on Christmas Day on a live online video chatroom where people go to ‘insult each other’.
Gregory Tomkins, 39, hanged himself in front of other people who had logged onto the Apple Inc Insults chatroom.
The chatroom, which is one of dozens available on the video group chat service Paltalk – which has around 6m worldwide users – encourages users to insult each other as much as they possible can.
Tragic: Gregory Tomkins (pictured) hanged himself in front of other people who had logged onto the Apple Inc Insults chatroom
In the early hours of Christmas Day, Mr Tomkins, a self-employed plasterer in his 30s from Wallington in Sutton, south London, logged onto the chatroom and hanged himself.
Other users, some in other countries, spoke of their shock at not being able to call 999 and how they desperately tried to get UK users to alert the police.
Mr Tomkins was eventually found dead by police officers just after 3.30am on Christmas Day.
Chatroom users spoke out about Mr Tomkins – who called himself Yakka in the chatroom – saying he was a ‘lovely soul’, but that an internet chatroom where you got to get insulted was ‘not the place for him’.
In the early hours of Christmas Day, Mr Tomkins, a self-employed plasterer in his 30s from Wallington in Sutton, south London, logged onto the chatroom and hanged himself
One chatroom user calling themselves Putin wrote online: ‘Gregory Tomkins was a funny man, he did a lot of funny stuff in the chat room but he also got upset a lot and would do silly things on his cam as well.
‘I just think he was very lonely as he had a difficult past which he spoke about a lot.
WHAT IS PALTALK?
Paltalk is a video group chat service with more than 6million members worldwide.
It features dozens of chatrooms including Apple Inc Insults group which encourages users to insult one another.
‘But he always meant well, you just were never sure what mood he was in when he entered the chat room. I do not think an insult chat room like this was the place for him.’
One chatroom user, who asked not to be named, told the Sutton Guardian newspaper this week: ‘He had come into the room on his regular screenname that he uses and then for some reason he went and changed his screenname.
‘When he actually comes in the room he is always on the microphone and he talks.
‘But this time he didn’t talk and he was just sitting there. After he left the room he cammed up, and that was when he did what he did.
‘It took him literally 30 seconds to go from sitting down to hanging.’
An administrator of the group calling themselves Throat Punch wrote on Wednesday: ‘As an admin in the room at the time this tragedy took place, the frustration of not being able to contact police because dialling 101 or 999 from a country outside the UK became immediately apparent.
A Met Police spokesman said: ‘Police were called at 3.36am on Monday, December 25, to an address in Wallington after concerns were raised for the welfare of an occupant’
‘By the time it took me to get a room member from the UK to contact 999, it was way too late.
‘Sitting by watching people ignore requests to call police was truly futile.’
Another chatroom called Alinity wrote: ‘Yakka was a funny guy he will be sadly missed.’
A Met Police spokesman said: ‘Police were called at 3.36am on Monday, December 25, to an address in Wallington after concerns were raised for the welfare of an occupant.
‘Officers attended. A man, believed to be in his 30s, was found unresponsive and pronounced dead at the scene.
‘Next of kin are aware. The death is not being treated as suspicious.’
- For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details