Jerry Stratton, a 47-year-old American, has become the first person in Britain to be officially reported as having committed suicide after losing "his life savings" to Nigerian "419" fraudsters. A London coroner's court was told on 9 August that Stratton was found dead in a central London hotel last October. The police found a note in which Stratton, a plumbing contractor from Live Oak, Florida, had said: "If anything happens to me, look for three people. They are Nigerians. They are responsible."
Promissory notes for [pounds sterling]50,000 were found in Stratton's room. The inquest was told that Stratton had been "persuaded" by the Nigerian conmen to part with money in return for vast profits from a $10 million deal. He had flown back to Britain from Nigeria on 5 October last year "in a last-ditch attempt to salvage the deal", the British daily, The Independent, reported.
"The inquest was told he had unsuccessfully tried to raise $65,000 from family and friends to keep the deal going," the paper said. "Relatives became worried when he told them he 'had nothing to come home for'."
According to Dr Nicholas Hunt, a pathologist, "the cause of death was deep incised wounds to the left forearm, and one to the right wrist causing heavy bleeding". Stratton had taken an overdose of the insomnia drug, Nytol, before cutting his wrists. The police said there was no foul play...