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Australian Girls Took Instructions to Commit Suicide from Internet Site

Internet abuse is by now well documented. The latest is that it can also tell you how to commit suicide.

Two Australian girls, Jodie Gater and her friend Stephanie Gestier, were found hanging from a tree in a national park near Melbourne last month. They had been missing for a week before their bodies were found. The apparent suicide pact had sent shock waves across the country.

They had taken instructions from an internet site, Rob Gater, father of Jodie Gater, said in a TV interview.

It was 'just wrong, absolutely wrong' that his daughter and her friend had consulted a website showing 'which particular rope to use, how to do the knots, how to test that the rope won't break under your weight, under the weight of both'.

Speaking publicly for the first time since their daughter's death, Gater and his wife, Jennifer claimed they had not seen any signs that Jodie was unhappy.

Three days after their disappearance, Rob Gater had made an emotional media appeal for his daughter and her friend to get in touch. 'Jodie, if you're watching, please make contact with us. We miss you and want to hear from you,' he said.

At the time, Mr Gater said his daughter had seemed completely normal when she left to go shopping with her friend. 'She was quite happy to go out - made sure she had her mobile phone with her and that was the last I've seen of her. The last thing we said to her was, 'Make sure you're home for tea,'' he said.

His daughter had been in a good mood, having recently turned 16 and started driving lessons. During his appeal, he told reporters that although he did not think Jodie had met new friends, he was not sure. 'She keeps using MSN Messenger and MySpace stuff. It's hard to keep track of exactly what's spoken.'

The two had indeed posted depressed notes on Internet sites including MySpace in the months before their deaths.

Gater had written se veral items mentioning suicide on one of her websites between December and February, including a poem called 'Suicide in the Night'.

'It's over for me, I can't take it! I hear it over and over again, It feels like it always rains,' it reads.

In one MySpace entry she wrote: 'Let Steph n me b free.'

Her final MySpace update was on April 14, one day before she and Gestier went missing, and was addressed to her boyfriend Allan.

'I luv you sooo soo much Allan, Miss u heaps and heaps xoxoxo I will always remember u,' she wrote.

Gestier had also posted a disturbing entry on a website in the weeks before she died, saying: 'i dont wanna know how many friends you have cuz i dont have any anymore.'

Friends of the girls also turned to MySpace to express their grief as the news of their deaths spread, and local media reported Gestier's mother had posted a message in the early hours of Monday morning.

'Stephanie, why didn't you tell me you were so upset? Why didn't you just come home?' the letter reads.

'You had only just turned 16. You were always such a quiet girl who spent time listening to music and surfing the Internet.

'There is nothing that couldn't have been sorted out. You were my only child and can never be replaced. Bye bye, my little girl.'

Experts said joint suicides by girls were extremely rare.

'It's very, very unusual to have girls kill themselves and particularly kill themselves in this way,' said psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Greg.

In one MySpace entry she wrote: 'Let Steph n me b free.'

Her final MySpace update was on April 14, one day before she and Gestier went missing, and was addressed to her boyfriend Allan.

'I luv you sooo soo much Allan, Miss u heaps and heaps xoxoxo I will always remember u,' she wrote.

Gestier had also posted a disturbing entry on a website in the weeks before she died, saying: 'i dont wanna know how many friends you have cuz i dont have any anymore.'

Friends of the girls also turned to MySpace to express their grief as the news of their deaths spread, and local media reported Gestier's mother had posted a message too.

'Stephanie, why didn't you tell me you were so upset? Why didn't you just come home?' the letter reads.

'You had only just turned 16. You were always such a quiet girl who spent time listening to music and surfing the Internet.

'There is nothing that couldn't have been sorted out. You were my only child and can never be replaced. Bye bye, my little girl.'

Experts said joint suicides by girls were extremely rare.

'It's very, very unusual to have girls kill themselves and particularly kill themselves in this way,' said psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Greg.

Gater in his TV intervierw said he hoped that by speaking out about the girls' deaths he would prevent another tragedy, and urged parents to maintain communication with their children.

'Give your kids a big hug, just keep talking with them, be involved with what they're doing,' he said.


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