Anguished parents seek answers in Canada ‘suicide kit’ probe

David Parfett sits subsequent to a framed image of his son Tom at his house in Maidenhead, United Kingdom, on September 22, 2023 (HENRY NICHOLLS)

The second Kim Prosser discovered that her 19-year-old son Ashtyn had died by suicide, she says she dropped to the ground, the place she lay “shaking and so chilly.”

Ashtyn was considered one of not less than 100 individuals who police say died after a Canadian man offered him a substance over the web that was used to help folks with suicides.

The vendor — Kenneth Legislation — has been accused of sending as many as 1,200 packages throughout dozens of nations since 2020. Arrested in Might, he’s dealing with a number of fees of “counselling or aiding suicide” as a sprawling worldwide investigation unfolds.

Authorities suspect the 58-year-old Legislation, previously a cook dinner at a Toronto lodge, of promoting the substance — which may also be used as a meals additive — to susceptible folks on-line.

Ashtyn was considered one of them, Prosser instructed AFP throughout an interview at a park dealing with the Detroit River in Windsor, on the US-Canada border, about an hour away from her house.

“He was tremendous completely satisfied, fun-loving, outgoing, however solely with, you realize, people who he would discover ardour with,” she mentioned.

He had expressed suicidal ideas to her up to now, she mentioned.

Then, in March, she bought that closing name to inform her “this time he did it. He succeeded, and Ashtyn’s gone.”

Ashtyn was considered one of 14 victims aged between 16 and 36 in Canada who used kits they bought from Legislation to finish their lives, based on police.

With greater than 160 packages despatched within the nation, they worry that quantity will rise.

In Britain, not less than 272 folks bought merchandise from Legislation’s web sites — 88 of whom died, police there have mentioned.

Alerted by Interpol, a number of different international locations have launched investigations, together with New Zealand, and Italy, the place 9 patrons have been recognized and one sufferer has died.

Australian authorities are additionally understood to have launched a search.

France, for its half, has documented round 30 patrons — however has not opened an investigation as using the product doesn’t represent an offense, a police supply with data of the case instructed AFP.

The identical is true of Eire, which has reported a “small quantity” of deaths however has not launched a felony investigation.

Legislation, who has been in custody since his arrest, intends to plead not responsible, mentioned his lawyer Matthew Gourlay.

“That is actually the primary of its sort prosecution,” he instructed AFP, including that his shopper was being prosecuted for promoting a product that “till just lately was obtainable on So we discover that to be troubling.”

“I am promoting a authorized product, okay,” Legislation instructed the Globe and Mail newspaper shortly earlier than his arrest.

“And what the particular person does with it? I’ve no management.”

– ‘A knock on the door’ –

David Parfett, whose 22-year-old son Tom died of suicide in Britain in 2021, fears that protection could effectively maintain.

Parfett, who lives in Maidenhead, exterior of London, describes the second he discovered of Tom’s demise as “a knock on the door early morning. After which, after all, your world’s very completely different after that.”

“He cherished soccer. The one overriding reminiscence of Tom as a child was he at all times had a ball at his toes,” he instructed AFP from his Victorian house, the place the partitions are lined in photographs of Tom.

“I keep in mind him each day. Dropping him is one thing that sort of nearly by no means leaves you.”

His son, he mentioned, “was struggling, he was depressed.”

Within the wake of Tom’s demise, Parfett says he got here throughout a discussion board visited by his son on-line the place different customers “have been encouraging him to take his personal life,” and utilizing coded messages that despatched him to Legislation’s web site.

The daddy of three fears it’s “unlikely” that Legislation might be prosecuted for his son’s demise.

“Kenneth Legislation was only a businessman… And he appeared to discover a approach during which he may persuade himself that supplying suicide kits was a wonderfully respectable enterprise,” Parfett mentioned.

Prosser, who’s now working to launch an affiliation in her son’s reminiscence to fill gaps in well being take care of folks in misery, says she hopes that Legislation “can take accountability for the choices that he made.”

“I do know that Ashtyn wasn’t effectively, and I do know that he had struggles,” she mentioned. “The toughest factor for us to do is to ask for assist.”


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