‘Sextortion’ scammers blamed for the death of a teenager have escaped prosecution after a decade-long investigation.
Daniel Perry, 17, died after becoming a victim of the con, in which internet users are lured into webcam chats and then blackmailed with the footage.
The apprentice mechanic believed he was talking online to a girl in the US but was told by the scammers the conversations had been recorded and would be shared with friends and family unless he paid up.
Daniel, of Dunfermline, leapt to his death from the Forth Road Bridge in July 2013 after being hounded by the blackmailers on Skype, a website where users can make free video calls.
Police Scotland uncovered an internet trail that led to the Philippines and links to organised crime groups there. But the Mail can reveal Scottish prosecutors have decided ‘after careful consideration… there should be no proceedings taken’.
A warrant was issued in 2016 for Archie Gian Tolin, an accused cyber-criminal, to be extradited from the Philippines to stand trial in Scotland in relation to the scam.
Tragic Daniel Perry, 17, killed himself by jumping off the Forth Road Bridge hours after falling foul of a internet blackmail scam
Gill Aiton of Kirkcaldy, Mother of Daniel Perry, 17, from Fife, who died in July 2013 at the Forth Road Bridge
In 2021, Daniel’s uncle Ron Reilly, owner of a garage in Edinburgh, said the family were no further forward and claimed the Philippines government was refusing to release Tolin.
He said: ‘It has not gone anywhere at all. There was a change of leadership in the Philippines and they wouldn’t do anything. The Scottish Government is doing nothing – the police have done all they could.’
Mr Reilly added: ‘We found his laptop, it was still on and the last page he was on was open. I saw a picture of a girl who looked 16 or 17 and she was very pretty.
‘They had been typing and swapping pictures. It was a financial scam, the girl wasn’t real, then they demanded money.’
The criminals are said to have told Daniel he ‘would be dead’ unless he acceded to their demands.
He apparently begged them not to carry out the threat but police claim the suspects replied: ‘Commit suicide now.’
In 2014, his mother, Nicola Perry, said: ‘If we are to make sure that no other parent or family member loses a loved one in the way we lost Daniel, then people must take care when talking to others online and not share intimate pictures or personal information that could be used against them.’
Tolin was arrested in the Philippines in 2014 along with many others as part of an operation by British and Filipino police into gangs involved in alleged cyber-crime.
Some 58 people were arrested, with at least three suspects alleged to have been involved in targeting UK citizens, including Daniel. But Scottish prosecutors were believed to have enough evidence to convict only Tolin for more serious charges than he would face at home.
The Perry family declined to comment on the latest developments.
A Crown Office spokesman said: ‘The procurator fiscal received a report relating to a 29-year-old male in connection with an alleged offence in relation to the death of Daniel Perry on July 15, 2013.
‘After careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case, Crown counsel decided there should be no proceedings taken. The family of Daniel Perry have been informed.’
Scottish Conservative deputy justice spokesman Sharon Dowey said: ‘No one deserves to go through what Daniel Perry did. My thoughts are with his family. Sextortion is a cruel crime that destroys lives. The justice authorities must get the resources they need from the SNP Government to allow them to successfully prosecute these crimes.’
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