British duo link Ontario’s Kenneth Law to account on pro-suicide forum

Editor’s note: If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health there are a number of ways to get help, including by calling or texting Suicide Crisis Helpline at 9-8-8. A list of local crisis centres is also available here.

Two family members of a young man who died by suicide almost four years ago in the United Kingdom turned their grief into an investigation, uncovering what they believe is an online M.O. of a Canadian accused of killing troubled people by selling them poisonous substances.

As Kenneth Law faced the first court hearing for his charges, including 14 counts of first-degree murder – a hearing he did not attend as court staff said he was in medical isolation – Catherine Adenekan and Melanie Saville told CTV News about their efforts to learn who was behind an account called “Greenberg” in a pro-suicide website.

“Every time there was sodium nitrite talked about on there, he was there,” said Saville of the Greenberg account, whose avatar picture is a white puppy.

“And when Kenneth Law was arrested, there was no more activity on the Greenberg account,” she said.

Saville’s brother-in-law, Joe Nihill, died by suicide in 2020. One of the notes he left behind pointed his family to the online forum, which CTV News is not naming.

Saville and Adenekan, Nihill’s mom, went through the site and found what they said were endless posts encouraging vulnerable people to end their lives, including a detailed discussion of how.

“There are plenty on the site saying you’re better off taking your life. Once you get in there, it’s like you’re brainwashed,” she said. Users say “Catch the bus” or CTB as a euphemism for killing yourself.

Chats viewed by CTV News show the Greenberg account saying certain suicide methods are “totally effective to CTB with,” while others are “more than enough to embrace eternity.”

British duo link Ontario’s Kenneth Law to account on pro-suicide forum

In some posts, Greenberg refers people to a now-defunct blog, while in others, he references products from a company called “Escmode” – one of the companies police have said was run by former Ontario chef Kenneth Law.

The pair determined that the substance that killed Nihill was not ordered from Law, who may not have been the only alleged seller trawling a website offering deadly products to troubled people.

Adenekan and Saville messaged Law directly, posing as a customer.

“He was willing to sell it to me, and I explained what I was going to do with it,” Saville said. “He asked me how much I weighed, and he was telling me how much I needed, and he was more than happy to sell it to me.”

Their informal investigation was soon paralleled by police in Canada and worldwide as officers followed some 1200 packages to 40 countries.

A tally by CTV News suggests that 125 deaths may be connected to the products Law was selling. Some were very young; among the dead in Ontario are 19-year-old Ashtyn Prosser-Blake and 21-year-old Stephen Mitchell.

Law faced his first hearing for the upgraded charges Thursday, a hearing he did not attend as court staff said he was in medical isolation. His next hearing is on Feb 20.

Law, who is in custody, has long held he was providing a service to those who needed it and is not legally responsible for what someone does with his products.

Law faces no charges outside of Canada, though Adenekan and Saville believe he, and others who supply these products, should. They also think the forum should be blocked in more countries. It remains available in Canada as the federal government says it lacks legal authority to block it.

“What gives them the authority to decide what’s right for someone else in a crisis?” asked Saville. 

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