02:51PM, Thursday 22 January 2015
A teenager from Windsor hanged himself after falling for an internet scam claiming he owed money, an inquest heard.
Joseph Edwards, 17, of St Leonard's Road, hanged himself at his home on August 6 and was discovered by his mother Jackie, who had returned home from work.
An email was later found on the former The Windsor Boys' School pupil’s laptop sent from a bogus account pretending to be the police which demanded money from him.
Speaking at the inquest today, Mrs Edwards said her son had autism and would have taken the email literally.
She said: "He was genuinely a happy boy had developed new friendships and was enjoying himself and didn't have any worries evident to me.
"I don't think he understood the implications of what he was doing , he wouldn't have done anything to upset myself or his sister."
A report from Detective Sergeant Peter Wall read out at the inquest described the email sent to Joseph as 'a poor attempt at blackmail' but had been taken very seriously by the young man.
He went on to say that the people behind the scam were most likely to be based abroad but had set up an elaborate security system to avoid detection.
The police are still investigating the email and are liaising with four specialists to help drag down the people behind it.
Berkshire coroner Michael Burgess said there was strong evidence to suggest there was no third party involvement in Joseph’s death but the email may have caused him ‘great distress and difficulty’.
He said: “Whilst I am satisfied no one else was involved in Joseph’s death I am not satisfied he appreciated the implications he would die as a result of his actions.”
An open narrative verdict was recorded.
The inquest took place at Windsor Guildhall.
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