On July 26, police burst into Leon Jenkins' Cardiff bedsit after being alerted to his actions by an administrator from video group chat service Paltalk, and users of the chatroom — they found Jenkins hanged in his living room.
The 43-year-old's webcam was still functional — and officers heard observers asking whether what they had seen was real or fake, PC Phillip Coleman of South Wales police told the inquest.
"They heard voices speaking to each other, saying: ‘Is that real?… It does look real," Coleman said.
Goaded Or Not?
Police are investigating claims Jenkins was goaded into killing himself — but Coroner Rachel Knight said there was no evidence to support this, despite there being two previous incidents of men hanging themselves on webcam on the same site.
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"Despite police efforts to trace participants of Paltalk, I have no evidence to say he was taunted or encouraged. Inquiries were made in Canada, America and Australia, but witnesses were not forthcoming," Knight ruled.
One user did say to police he was "a bit of an eccentric", however. Jenkins' father Peter told the inquest he heard his son "shouting and swearing" when using Paltalk.
"Leon used Paltalk to occupy his time. He didn't mention to me any concerns about it, but would use it at my house. I knew it was an insult room. I would hear him swearing and shouting at the site," Peter said.
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The inquest was also told Jenkins had lived alone in the bedsit for the last 18 years, and neighbours had reported him to the city council over noise and bad language emanating from his flat.
The Pontypridd-based hearing also learned Jenkins had a history of mental health problems and been diagnosed as bipolar — a postmortem examination found he was almost three times the legal drink-drive limit at the time of his death.
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Phone records showed his last outgoing call was made to a woman in Tennessee, US, who'd been his girlfriend despite the pair never meeting in person. Knight said of Jenkins that he lived "part of his lif online" and spent "quite a lot of time" using the internet.