16-year-old British boy kills himself after being blackmailed by Nigerian scammers over lewd photos

Monday, February 26, 2024
 – A young schoolboy killed himself after being blackmailed over lewd photographs.

Dinal De Alwis, a 16-year-old keen footballer and rugby player, had earned a clean sheet of A* GCSEs and just started sixth form with hopes of studying at Cambridge, when he was contacted on messaging app Snapchat by someone from Nigeria.

According to Mail Online, De Alwis was sent two photos of himself and told they would be sent to 'all his online followers' unless he paid £100.

Worried for his life, he left his family home and recorded a brief video saying he planned to kill himself.

Last night, his grieving father Kaushallya De Alwis told the Daily Mail that he did not want any other family to suffer as they had.

Mr De Alwis said of the night his son disappeared: 'He messaged my wife and I to say he loved us, and he told his two brothers that he loves them, and said they need to "look after mum and dad".'

Dinal was a pupil at Whitgift School in Croydon – near the family's home in Sutton, south London where boarding fees reach £48,000 and alumni include former England rugby star Danny Cipriani and illusionist Derren Brown.

After success in his GCSEs, he had begun studying for the International Baccalaureate in sixth form and was top of the school in English and economics.

But following dinner at home in October 2022 – just days after a family holiday in Majorca over the autumn half-term break,  he uncharacteristically told his mother 'just leave me alone'.

Only later did it emerge that at 1am he was sent the two naked photographs of himself  following previous contact with the blackmailer.

South London Coroner's Court heard that the blackmailer – who is also thought to have had other victims – wrote: 'So you think blocking me can stop me? What do you want me to do – you want me to send to all of your followers? Why can't you just pay me? £100?'

Dinal responded that he had assumed the pictures had already been distributed.

He slipped out of the house at 2am and recorded a brief video of himself walking down a suburban street. Little more than an hour later his body was found after he had fallen to his death, which was caught on CCTV.

Police and the National Crime Agency admitted to Dinal's parents that they were unable to trace the blackmailer – but said that he appeared to have been operating from Nigeria.

Mr De Alwis wept as he told the coroner: 'Dinal was the most caring son. He was bright.

'He got straight A*s in all of his subjects at GCSEs and was top of the school for English and economics.

'We come from Sri Lanka, so we were so proud to hear he was so good at English. He was brave. He played for the football and rugby teams at Whitgift School. He never asked for anything from us. He was always happy with what he had.

'His loss is the biggest possible loss. It is so incredibly painful. The fact that he ended his life in this way... the world is so cruel.'

Mr De Alwis added: 'He didn't show any sort of unhappiness. I think he wanted to avoid any shame from the images going public. I wish he had spoken to us.

'He had always been so open in the past. But I think that when things are happening online, live, it feels like there is no time. He did nothing wrong.'

Mr De Alwis said he thought a girl may have taken the pictures while with Dinal, and that they ended up in the wrong hands.

But he was also aware blackmailers have been known to pose as attractive girls online, sending erotic pictures and demanding naked 'selfies' in return, before demanding cash to keep them private.

Mr De Alwis told the Mail: 'Dinal had had some girlfriends, he'd been very open with me.

'I'd warned him to be careful. The grieving is never ending. I'm very worried about my younger son – he's big time into all this social media, and young people underestimate the dangers around them. There must be ways of tracking these things and parents should have access. I don't want this to happen to anyone else.'

The inquest ruled Dinal's death a suicide.

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