A man accused of selling lethal substances on the internet to people at risk of self-harm is facing 12 additional charges.
Kenneth Law had initially been charged with two counts of counselling or aiding suicide in Canada – but detectives say this has now risen to 14.
An international investigation is under way after it emerged he had sent at least 1,200 packages to 40 countries – including the UK, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and the US.
Here, the National Crime Agency has identified 272 people who bought items from Canadian websites targeted at suicidal individuals – and of those, 88 died.
A spokesperson cautioned that “at this early stage” it could not be confirmed the website purchases caused any of the deaths – but said each case was now being investigated.
The chemical sold online – which Sky News is not naming – was “a white, crystalline substance” sometimes used in food processing that can “reduce oxygen levels, impair breathing and can result in death” if consumed in sufficient amounts.
All 12 of the new charges against Law relate to cases in the Canadian province of Ontario – and the alleged victims were between 16 and 36 years old.
Inspector Simon James said: “We are aware of police investigations going on in jurisdictions outside the province of Ontario, and we are cooperating and sharing information with law enforcement on a global scale.”
What we know about Kenneth Law
Law was initially arrested in early May after a month-long investigation into the sudden death of a person who had consumed a chemical bought on a website allegedly owned by the 57-year-old.
At the time, he denied reports that he was willingly selling products to help people die by suicide.
The chemical he allegedly sold can be used for other purposes, but his mail-order company was taken offline following an investigation into his operations by The Times.
Assisted suicide is illegal in the UK and Canada and is punishable by up to 14 years in prison in both countries.
Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email [email protected] in the UK.