UK authorities probe 88 deaths linked to Canadian man who sold lethal substances online

Kenneth Law.
Kenneth Law. Copyright Peel Police
By A with AFP
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Kenneth Law is accused of deliberately selling poisons to vulnerable people at risk of suicide in multiple countries.


British law enforcement authorities have said they are investigating 88 deaths linked to a Canadian man alleged to have illegally sold substances online to people at risk of suicide.

According to the National Crime Agency, or NCA, UK police are working hard to trace buyers who may have obtained materials sold by Kenneth Law, an Ontario resident who was arrested in May on suspicion of "counselling or aiding suicide".

According to Canadian police, Law distributed and marketed the lethal substance sodium nitrite to "distressed individuals" via the internet under the names of several apparently innocuous businesses.

As many as 232 people in the UK are thought to have purchased items from him. However, the NCA has stressed that so far, it has not confirmed direct links between his products and the 88 deaths it is probing.

"Our deepest sympathies are with the loved ones of those who have died," said NCA deputy director Craig Turner. "They are being supported by specially trained officers from police forces."

Canadian police arrested and charged Law in May this year after investigating a sudden death involving poison in March. However, his activities had come to the attention of UK law enforcement months before.

It transpired in the spring that in October last year, police in the English county of Surrey reached out to Law over the death of a 22-year-old man, Tom Parfett, who took his own life in 2021. He had apparently visited one of Law's now-closed websites.

A subsequent probe into Parfett's death raised concerns about why the police force did not further investigate Law's activities.

According to Canada's CBC news service, the death of another Surrey man, 23-year-old Neha Raju, was also been linked to Law's operation by Surrey Police, but no further action was taken.

Law is also under investigation in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and beyond, and is thought to have sent more than 1,200 parcels containing harmful substances.

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