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21 deaths now linked to Kenneth Law's lethal products

Editor’s note: If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health there are a number of ways to get help, including by calling Talk Suicide Canada at 1-833-456-4566. A list of local crisis centres is also available here

The number of deaths connected to the products sold by a Mississauga, Ont. man charged with aiding and abetting suicide continues to climb, hitting at least 21 people, according to tracking by CTV News.

Multiple police forces in the United Kingdom have said they have received names of the people who ordered packages from local former chef Kenneth Law that may have contained lethal but legal sodium nitrite and found some still alive — but others had died, the forces said.

“In London we have traced a number of people who are safe and well having purchased this substance from the suspect. They are being referred to local support services,” London’s Metropolitan Police told CTV News in a statement.

“There has however been a number of individuals identified as having received the substance and who have since died,” the statement continued, adding that the causes of death are “unexpected” as the agency works with the coroner in that city.

Also, Avon and Somerset Police, located near Bristol, told CTV News they have also recorded a death in the list provided to them.

“We had nine names provided to us, one of whom has sadly died,” wrote Ellie Young, that police force’s communications officer.

Also among the dead, according to British media, a 29-year-old man named Tom Windsor of Plymouth, who died on July 10, 2021.

A coroner’s inquest heard Windsor ordered a substance from abroad, called for an ambulance after taking a toxic substance, but died on the phone before paramedics arrived.

The death was dealt with as a suicide and Windsor's family and friends are raising money in support of young men's mental health.

A few months later, second-year university student Tom Parfett was found next to a note and a package of sodium nitrite with the logo of Imtime Cuisine, one of the companies that police in Canada have linked to Law.

A package of sodium nitrite sold on one by one of various businesses in connection with Peel's investigation. (Peel Regional Police)

Sodium nitrite is used to cure meats, but in large concentrations can be lethal, starving the body of its ability to transport oxygen to tissues.

A surveillance image obtained by CTV News shows Parfett using a self-check-in machine at a hotel near London on Oct. 26, 2021. That was the last time anyone saw him alive. Two days later, panicked cleaning staff called for police and an ambulance.

“We checked his pulse, there’s no pulse, he’s as white as a ghost,” says one of the staff members, according to a recording of the emergency call obtained by CTV News.

A police report says the product was discovered with packaging from online retailer Amazon. CTV News has reached out to the tech giant, but did not receive a response.

That report shows that an officer reached out to Imtime Cuisine through email, but the company never wrote back.

On Friday, Parfett’s father, David, said he wishes that British police had made connections between the cases sooner because he believes it might have saved lives.

“My overriding emotion at that time was one of regret. I’ve raised a complaint with investigating police about this,” he said, adding that he believes prosecuting Law is only one part of a response he says should include restricting dangerous products and access to websites that promote them to vulnerable people for suicide.

Tom Parfett is seen checking into hotel near London on Oct. 26, 2021 before he was found dead in his room by cleaning staff.

In Canada, Law was charged with two counts of aiding and abetting suicide in Mississauga this year. Peel Police have said he sent 1,200 packages that may have included sodium nitrite to over 40 countries. Police across the world have followed the packages to their destinations.

Some police agencies have acknowledged they are reviewing deaths, and CTV News has also been in touch with family members who have shown evidence of a connection to Law, often through packaging or through records of orders.

All of that adds up to at least 21 deaths CTV News is tracking: in the U.K., the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Italy. Many of them are in their 20s. The youngest is 17-year-old Anthony Jones from Michigan.

Law is charged only in connection with two deaths in Mississauga and has not been charged in connection with any of these other deaths.

CTV News has linked 21 fatalities to sodium nitrite, a product sold by Mississauga, Ont. man Kenneth law who is charged in at least two deaths.

Also on Tuesday, Law appeared at a Brampton courtroom by video. He has retained a lawyer and preparations are under way for a special bail hearing.

Law has pleaded not guilty to charges in Canada and has said he is not responsible for what people do with his products. He is innocent until proven guilty.

Kenneth Law appears in court in Brampton, Ont., Wednesday, May 3, 2023 in an artist's sketch. Law, accused of selling a lethal substance to people at risk of self-harm, has had his bail hearing put over until next week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould Top Stories

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