Man accused of sending poison to people at risk of self-harm is charged with 14 murders

By Isaac M December 13, 2023

A Canadian man accused of sending poison to hundreds of people at risk of self-harm has been charged with 14 counts of second-degree murder.

Kenneth Law had previously been charged with 14 counts of counselling or aiding suicide over the deaths of young people across the province of Ontario.

Police said the 58-year-old posted around 160 packages of a poisonous substance to people in Canada – along with at least 1,200 packages to addresses in more than 40 countries.

“It’s clearly significant… to be laying this many [charges] and that’s not taken lightly by the investigative team,” Inspector Simon James of the police force in York, a northern district of Toronto, told a news conference.

The victims ranged in age from 16 to 36, but Mr James declined to name them or explain why the charges against Law had been upgraded. He also said he did not know how many people abroad might have died.

Pic: Peel Regional Police
Image:
Packets of the chemical allegedly sold by Law. Pic: Peel Regional Police

“We continue to cooperate with law enforcement agencies and collaborate with them globally,” he added.

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) revealed in August it had identified 272 people in the UK who bought items from the Canadian websites in the two years up to April 2023.

Of those, 88 died.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp, citing official records and statements, said Law could be linked to 117 deaths around the world, most of them in Britain.

It said authorities in New Zealand, France, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Switzerland also confirmed Law sent packages to their countries.

Law, who police alleged used a number of websites to reach his victims, is in jail and is due to appear in court again on 19 December.

“One of the challenges that we face are a number of these sites are located in other countries where Canadian law does not apply,” said Mr James.

If Law is found guilty, he will be recorded as one of the worst mass murderers in Canada’s history.

In April 2020, a 51-year-old man shot dead 22 people in the Atlantic province of Nova Scotia before being killed by police.

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK.

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