London - A father has killed himself live on the internet after being goaded by cruel trolls, becoming the third Briton to broadcast their death on the same website.
The 43-year-old builder from Cardiff hanged himself on Paltalk, a controversial chat site where users can stream video to strangers.
The victim, who had not been named on Sunday night, set up a webcam and beamed his suicide to other users around the world as online bullies taunted him.
The trolls – including some based in Britain – encouraged him to go through with it, saying: "Why don’t you just do it? Your life isn’t worth it."
The shocking case on Sunday prompted campaigners to call for better protection for vulnerable adults online.
It is understood the man originally started using Paltalk because he was lonely and depressed and wanted to make new friends. The US-based website allows users to talk to others via video, text or voice chats.
But fellow members said it wasn’t long before he was "bullied mercilessly".
A friend he met online, who was not named, told the Sunday People: "These chatrooms need to be shut down. This is the third person to die. He would still be alive if it wasn’t for the vicious people who drove him to his death.
"He was a very funny guy. He was a character. He would do charades and impressions of people. He was just a lovely, fun, good person, such a gentle soul. What happened is so incredibly sad."
Another friend told the newspaper how the victim would move to different chatrooms to try to escape the bullies, but they would follow him and continue the abuse. When he opened up about being ‘desperate’ after splitting with his partner, they would tell him to kill himself.
The friend said: "You could see they were making him the next target to push to suicide. That’s what they do. They pick on someone who is weak and make a game out of it. He was driven to his death."
She claimed that the bullies even started to contact their victim in the real world, phoning him and also his potential building clients, falsely telling them he was a drug addict.
She added: "He was heartbreakingly honest about what was going on in his life and would say things like this was the only form of social interaction he had. He was very open about the fact he was depressed. Sometimes he would even cry on camera.
"The vile people that use this chatroom used to tell him to kill himself. Since he died, they’ve been laughing about it, saying things like, 'He was a loser, he deserved it'."
It is believed the alarm may not have been raised with staff at Paltalk while the suicide was taking place. However, users did eventually get a message to the police, who found the man’s body in his flat on Wednesday.
South Wales Police said: "We can confirm the sudden death of a 43-year-old man at a property on July 25. There are no suspicious circumstances." A neighbour, who declined to be named, said: "He was always on Paltalk – he showed me the site last year. People go on it for banter but it turns into abuse and can get nasty. You could hear him screaming at people. The language was alarming."
The tragedy comes seven months after south London plasterer Gregory Tomkins, 39, killed himself on Paltalk on Christmas Day. And in 2007, 42-year-old electrician Kevin Whitrick, from Wellington in Shropshire, died on the site as dozens of users watched.
Internet safety campaigner Dr Linda Papadopoulos called for more protection from online bullying. "We rightly care about the impact on children a lot, but that vulnerability extends to adults, too," she said.
Paltalk could not be reached for comment.