She couldn’t understand what had made her kind, handsome son — a popular sixth-form student at Windsor Boys’ School, who won prizes for good behaviour — take his own life.There had been no warning: no anxiety, no girlfriend problems, no bullying.That day in August last year, midway through the school summer holidays, started out just like any other.Joseph Edwards, who’d just turned 17, was still in bed at home in Windsor, Berkshire, when his mother, Jackie, left for work at 8.30am.This version claimed to come from the Cheshire Police Force — apparently chosen at random, but with convincing logos and headings — and told Joe his computer was locked because of illegal activity, citing extreme pornography, breach of copyright (the use of film and music pirating sites) and even visiting sites that promote terrorism.Written in a spurious police jargon, quoting made-up ‘Articles’ of the British ‘Criminal Code’, the scam threatens the surfer with a fine of £100,000 or a nine-year prison term; and then asks for a £100 fee to unlock the computer.There are two kinds: one that simply blocks your data, and another that actually encrypts it.
Five years ago she took the children around Australia and New Zealand in a camper van.
She and Joseph used to talk about selling the house and using a slice of the money to travel together during his gap year.‘He read newspapers endlessly and knew so much about current affairs.
And like many autistic children, he could get obsessed with things.
If you mentioned a film title, he’d reel off the credits — who directed it, produced it, how much money it made and so on.
Five months since her son’s death, Jackie is determined to raise awareness of online scams. I knew the passwords to his computer and Facebook and email accounts, and still this happened. You want them to make mistakes and learn and find their own way in life.‘They’ve said it comes from scammers in Nigeria and that it’s all part of a bigger drug-dealing or trafficking racket.
Jackie says that stories of Joseph's kindness have consoled her, she recently found out Joseph helped their disabled neighbour after a fall in the garden‘You can scare 500 people out of money in a few days and then you shut that online account down and open another one using a different email address, which is really all you need.