Heartbreak at 'Neknominate' death

The heartbroken mother of a man whose death may have been caused by controversial drinking game Neknominate has spoken of her utter devastation.
  • The neknomination internet craze is believed to have originated in Australia
    Last updated: 10 February 2014, 16:10 GMT

    The heartbroken mother of a man whose death may have been caused by controversial drinking game Neknominate has spoken of her utter devastation.

    Stephen Brooks died on Sunday following a night out with friends in Cardiff at the weekend.

    Paramedics were called to his address in Rumney after the 29-year-old took a turn for the worse - but reportedly found that the former Rumney High School pupil had died in his sleep.

    Police confirmed they were investigating the death, which is not thought to be suspicious, and they had received information regarding Neknominate.

    The craze involves participants filming themselves downing alcohol, nominating someone to continue the game, and posting the video on Facebook.

    Participants are often dared to outdo the exploits of those who nominated them.

    Mr Williams' mother Paula described her son as kind, generous and loved by everyone who met him.

    She said: "The community here will not be the same without him - he would do anything to help anybody.

    "I want to thank all of Stephen's friends for all the kindness they have shown. Lots of his friends have brought cards."

    It is believed Mr Williams collapsed after attempting to down a pint of vodka. A video of him taking part in Neknominate was posted on to Facebook - but was later removed when news that the X Factor fan had died suddenly the next morning.

    Friends of Mr Williams, who suffered severe leg injuries in a road accident a year ago, called on people not to take take part in Neknominate.

    Friend Sofia Caffell said: "It really has to be stopped before this happens again. Let this be a lesson to everybody."

    Similar messages have also been posted online.

    A Facebook page set up in memory described Mr Brooks - also known as Brooksy - as "one in million" and a "true friend".

    Site user Bethan Morgan wrote: "RIP Brooksy!! Every time I seen you on one of your benders you had me crying, one funny guy."

    And family friend Heather Morris added: "I was stunned to hear of Stephen's death. I have so many lovely memories of him (and Paul) at school. He will be missed in Rumney."

    Several Twitter users took to the site to criticise the deadly game Neknominate.

    One, khalidaubin, said: "This #neknomination thing is going way too far now! RIP Brooksy."

    Police and student groups in the UK and Ireland have previously warned people about the dangers of taking part in Neknominate amid fears it may have resulted in three deaths.

    In Ireland, Jonny Byrne and Ross Cummings both died after apparently trying to complete their challenges.

    Mr Byrne, 19, drowned after drinking a pint and jumping into the River Barrow in Carlow.

    His brother Patrick later went on to Facebook to urge others to stop playing the game.

    He said: "He thought he had to beat the competition and after he necked his pint he jumped into the river.

    "If people have any decency and respect, they will refrain from any more of this stupid Neknomination."

    Dublin DJ Ross Cummings, 22, died when he too reportedly carried out a Neknomination.

    According to the Daily Mirror, the first UK victim of the game died at the weekend.

    The paper's website reported that former grammar school boy and youth hostel worker Isaac Richardson, 20, drank a cocktail of wine, whisky, vodka and lager before collapsing and dying in the early hours of yesterday.

    Anti-binge drinking campaign groups said they were saddened to hear of another death linked to Neknominate.

    Alcohol Concern chief executive Eric Appleby said: "It is devastating for family and friends to lose someone in this way.

    "This lethal 'game' shows just how hard we have to work to de-normalise binge-drinking among young people.

    "But it's not just about young people. They take their cues from society's attitude to drinking and it's this we have to change for all our sakes."

    South Wales Police said its inquiries into Mr Brooks' death were continuing.

    A force spokeswoman said: "We are investigating the sudden death of a 29-year-old man from Rumney during the early hours of February 9.

    "Officers investigating his death on behalf of HM coroner have received information regarding the so-called neck and nominate game.

    "Inquiries are continuing and a post-mortem is taking place."

    Last updated: 10 February 2014, 16:10 GMT

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