Bebo placed at the centre of internet death cult

Seven teenagers from the same town in South Wales have committed suicide, driven by what police fear is a desire for the 'prestige' that is being associated with having a memorial page on the social networking site Bebo.

Many of the victims from Bridgend had posted personal profiles on Bebo and since their deaths friends have set up memorial sites where others can post messages, photographs and videos remembering their dead friends.

The most recent victim was 17-year-old Natasha Randall, who hanged herself in her bedroom last Thursday.

By the next day, two of her teenage friends had also tried to commit suicide. One is on life support while the other has slashed wrists.

Her friends promptly set up a memorial site in her name called 'R.I.P. Tash', which is now covered in proud messages, pictures and videos from fellow teenagers.

One message reads: "RIP Tash -- can't believe you done it!" and "Heyaa Babe. Just poppin in to say I let my balloon off with a message on it, hope you got it ok and it made you laugh up there".

Randall's death was the seventh suicide in Bridgend in a year. Dale Crole, 18, was found dead in January 2007; followed by David Dilling, 19; Thomas Davies, 20; Zachary Barnes, 17; Liam Clarke, 20; and Gareth Morgan, 27. All were found hanged.

The seven teenagers were all linked in some way, although they did not all know each other.

The police have seized Randall's computer to help with their investigation into the deaths.

Her stepmother Katrina told The Daily Telegraph that the teenager spent hours every day on her computer using the name "wild child".

Melanie Davies, the mother of Davies, said her son also spent hours on the internet: "It's like a craze -- a stupid sort of fad.

"They all seem to be copying each other by wanting to die. I have lost my son and it is the worst nightmare."

Police have set up a task force in Bridgend to investigate the problem.

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