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Police carry out welfare checks after poison arrest

2023-06-05 21:26:34 [Press center9] source:The New York Times

UK police are carrying out checks on addresses where a poisonous substance linked to suicides may have been sent.

It follows the arrest of a Canadian man accused of "counselling and aiding suicide" by distributing the dangerous product worldwide.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) is working with Canadian authorities to identify potential cases of vulnerable people buying the poison in Britain.

The substance has been linked to deaths in Canada, the US and the UK.

Kenneth Law, 57, was arrested in the Toronto area and is accused of sending 1,200 packages to more than 40 countries.

It is not known if they all contained the toxic substance.

Police in Canada say they began investigating the case more than a month ago following the sudden death of an adult in the Toronto area.

During that investigation they became aware of a second local death allegedly linked to Mr Law, who is accused of operating several companies offering the substance for sale.

Mr Law's arrest comes after a recent investigation by the Times alleged he had links to at least four deaths in the UK.

The NCA has confirmed that it was contacted by the Canadian authorities via Interpol with details of people who may have used Mr Law's website.

It has asked forces across the country to carry out welfare visits to addresses which may have received parcels, though it is not clear how many are involved.

Deputy Chief Mark Andrews of Peel Police said his team are working with other forces internationally to see if more charges might be laid.

"We believe there could be more victims", he said.

Mr Law is due to appear in court on 9 May.

Speaking to Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper last week, Mr Law defended his actions and said that he sold a legal product.

"What the person does with it? I have no control," he told the newspaper.

Under Canada's criminal code, counselling or aiding a person to die by suicide can result in a 14-year prison sentence.

A recent study linked the poisonous substance to at least 20 deaths in the UK between January 2020 and February 2022.

It is not known how they obtained the chemical.

(editor-in-charge:Press center5)

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