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Call for action against suicide sites following death of Liam Kavanagh at Whitstable railway station

By Joe Wright

The family of a man who searched suicide methods online before taking his own life have called for action against the “brutal” websites.

The appeal comes after doting father-of-two Liam Kavanagh, who had been battling with anxiety and depression, was found hanging at Whitstable railway station by a member of the public in April.

Following an inquest into the death of the 31-year-old, his family have gained immense support for a petition demanding changes to the ease of access to the so-called suicide sites.

Liam Kavanagh was a father-of-two
Liam Kavanagh was a father-of-two

Set up on Friday, the call for action has already gained almost 10,000 signatures from local and international supporters.

Mr Kavanagh’s sister Natasha hopes the petition can reach 100,000 - the number needed to secure a debate in the House of Commons.

“The websites need to be either taken down or there needs to be alerts sent to agencies whenever someone visits them,” she said.

“It’s becoming more and more common for people to read them and then take their life.

“Google should not be allowing these websites to come up as they are brutal. People with mental health problems are able to get on there easily - it’s wrong.

“The support for the petition has been huge so if it can make a difference and save one life then that’d be good.”

Tributes were left to Liam Kavanagh at Whitstable railway station
Tributes were left to Liam Kavanagh at Whitstable railway station

Described as a “happy and loving young man”, Mr Kavanagh, of Ivy House Road, was an avid Chelsea fan.

His inquest at Canterbury Coroner’s Court last Wednesday was told he had spent time with his children on the day of his death.

Later that evening he texted his mother, Jackie, saying: “I am going to sleep now.”

It was not considered unusual, but his mother and sister Ella then grew concerned for him.

After hearing of an incident at Whitstable railway station shortly after 10pm, his family feared the worst.

The inquest was told he had searched several websites for suicide methods.

Assistant coroner Geoffrey Smith said Mr Kavanagh had also battled alcoholism, but four months before his death had been “grappling with his alcohol demons successfully”.

Tests revealed he was 80% over the drink drive limit when he took his own life.

Mr Kavanagh had previously gone missing in 2014, sparking an appeal circulated by police.

Despite that incident being considered a cry for help, Mr Smith concluded that Mr Kavanagh’s death was an intentional act.

“I am satisfied that he meant to take his life,” he said.

At the time of Mr Kavanagh’s tragic death, sister Ella Kavanagh paid tribute.

She said: “Liam was a happy, loving young man with a big heart and someone who would always be there for others if he could. He touched the lives of everyone who met him.”

“Liam has left a void in the life of everyone who knew him, especially his two children, who thought the world of him. He is now at rest.”

Anyone in need of emotional support is urged to call the Samaritans on 116 123. To view the petition click here.

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