Norwich cleaner took his own life after online dating scam

Coroner's Court in Norwich. Picture: Denise Bradley

Coroner's Court in Norwich. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2012

A 22-year-old cleaner took his own life after losing more than £1,600 to an online dating scam, an inquest heard.

Joel Harvey was found dead by his sister on May 7 this year at his parents' home on Latimer Road, Norwich, following the incident.

He had been dating a Canadian woman online for several months and transferred the money to pay for her flights to the UK.

But an inquest in Norwich yesterday heard that she stopped talking after the funds had been sent over, causing him a 'great deal' of stress.

Just hours before he hanged himself, Mr Harvey, who had autism and suffered with depression and anxiety, sent the perpetrator of the scam an email making clear his intentions.

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'Blood is on your hands,' he wrote. 'I know you will tell yourself lies to avoid taking blame for what happened. But the reality is you know you were unfair and exploited me.'

Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake described the crime as 'absolutely abhorrent' believing it had caused Mr Harvey to take his own life.

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While the incident was reported as fraud, the family was told no formal action could be taken.

In a statement, his mother, Angela Norris, said he was very trusting, but suffered with depression and anxiety. He had been receiving regular visits from a mental health nurse and was on anxiety medication.

Mrs Lake concluded that Mr Harvey intended to take his own life.

Need to talk? Call the Samaritans on 116 123, email, or visit

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