A “gifted” and “gentle” sixth grader at a top private school committed suicide after being blackmailed over nude photographs.
Enthusiastic footballer and rugby player Dinal De Alwis, 16, had achieved an A* GCSE clean sheet and had just started sixth form, hoping to study at Cambridge, when someone, apparently from Nigeria, contacted him. Contact him through the Snapchat messaging app.
They sent him two photographs of himself and told him they would send them to “all his online followers” unless he paid £100.
Instead, he left his family home and recorded a short video in which he said he planned to commit suicide.
Last night, his grieving father Kaushallya De Alwis mourned the death of the “golden boy” he still talks about in the present tense, telling the Daily Mail he didn’t want any other family to suffer like they did.
Dinal De Alwis, 16, had achieved an A* GCSE certificate and had just started sixth form hoping to study at Cambridge.
Someone, apparently from Nigeria, contacted an enthusiastic footballer and rugby player via the messaging app Snapchat. They sent him two photos of themselves and told him they would send them to “all of his online followers” unless he paid £100.
Mr De Alwis said of the night his son disappeared: “He texted my wife and me to say he loved us, and he told his two brothers that he loved them and that they had to ‘take care of mum and dad.'” “.
Dinal was a pupil at Whitgift School in Croydon, near the family’s detached home in Sutton, south London, where boarding fees reach £48,000 and its pupils include former England rugby star Danny Cipriani. and illusionist Derren Brown.
After success in his GCSEs, he began studying for the International Baccalaureate in sixth form and was top of the school in English and economics.
He had attended an open day in Cambridge, where he hoped to continue economics.
But after a dinner at home in October 2022, just days after a family holiday in Mallorca during the autumn half-term holidays, he uncharacteristically told his mother “leave me alone”.
Only later did it become known that at one in the morning they sent him the two photographs in which he appeared naked, perhaps after prior contact with the blackmailer.
South London coroner’s court heard the blackmailer, who is also believed to have had other victims, wrote: ‘So you think blocking me can stop me? What do you want me to do? Do you want me to send it to all your followers? Why can’t you just pay me? 100 pounds?
Dinal responded that he had assumed the photographs had already been distributed.
He left the house at 2 a.m. and recorded a short video of himself walking down a suburban street. Just over an hour later, his body was found having fallen to death, which was captured on CCTV.
Dinal was a pupil at Whitgift School in Croydon (pictured), near the family’s detached home in Sutton, south London, where boarding fees reach £48,000.
Dinal left the family home after being blackmailed and recorded a short video message saying he was going to commit suicide.
Police and the National Crime Agency admitted to Dinal’s parents that they had been unable to track down the blackmailer, but said he appeared to have been operating from Nigeria.
Mr De Alwis cried when he told the coroner: ‘Dinal was the most loving son. He was brilliant.
‘He achieved As in all his subjects at GCSE and was top of the school in English and economics.
‘We come from Sri Lanka, so we were very proud to know that he spoke English so well. He was brave. He played for the Whitgift School football and rugby teams. He never asked us for anything. He was always happy with what he had.
‘Your loss is the greatest possible loss. It’s incredibly painful. The fact that he ended his life this way… the world is so cruel.’
Mr De Alwis added: “He didn’t show any unhappiness. I think he wanted to avoid the embarrassment of the images becoming public. I wish he had spoken to us.
‘He had always been very open in the past. But I think when things happen online, live, it feels like there’s no time. He didn’t do anything wrong.
De Alwis said he thought a girl may have taken the photographs while he was with Dinal and they ended up in the wrong hands.
But I was also aware that blackmailers have been known to pose as attractive girls online, send erotic photographs and demand naked ‘selfies’ in return, before demanding cash to keep them private. Mr De Alwis told the Mail: ‘Dinal had had a few girlfriends, he had been very open with me.
‘I had warned him to be careful. The duel never ends. I am very worried about my youngest son: he is very involved in all these social networks and young people underestimate the dangers that surround them. There should be ways to track these things and parents should have access. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.’
The investigation ruled Dinal’s death a suicide.
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