A grieving dad yesterday insisted there are links between at least three of the young Bridgend suicide victims.

Christopher Claypole's stepson David Dilling, 19, was the second of 17 from the town to have been found hanged in just over a year.

David's death came just six weeks after his best friend Dale Crole, 18, was found hanged. A week later another close pal Thomas Davies, 20, killed himself in the same way.

Mr Claypole, 44, said: "All three were linked as they knew each other well. I think many of the others may have known them or each other because it's a small community.

"David was devastated when Dale died. He called him his brother because they were so close.

"When David hung himself we are sure that Dale was in his mind.

"We knew he was upset but didn't spot the signs so we could know how bad he was. Looking back, all we noticed was he was smoking more."

Pal Thomas Davies was also devastated by David's suicide and bought a suit to attend his funeral.

But Thomas hanged himself two days before the service.

Mr Claypole went on: "I don't believe they arranged it or that it was a copycat thing. I don't believe in a suicide cult or anything weird on the internet. But they were all connected because they knew each other and were very upset by the deaths.

"I can't explain why they did it. They can't have realised the grief and pain they have caused.

"I don't blame Bridgend itself because it is a good place to live. But more needs to be done to help young people come to terms with problems."

Dale, David and Thomas were the first three of the apparent suicides involving people aged 15 to 27 in Bridgend since January last year. South Wales Police say they have found no evidence linking any deaths.

But one of the later victims, Liam Clarke, 20, knew Dale, David and Thomas and was pals with Natasha Ran-dall, 17 - the first girl to die. The best friend of this week's victim - Jenna Parry, 16 - spoke yesterday after joining those laying flowers at the beauty spot where she was found.

Student Jessica Jones, 17, said: "I just don't know why she did it. She was a happy bubbly girl and really friendly. I'm still in shock."

Jessica's cousin Zachery Barnes, 17, hanged himself last August.

She said: "Jenna had met him but her death had nothing to do with his. I don't believe there is an internet connection either - Jenna was hardly ever on the internet. She was going out and meeting people."

Jenna's family also laid flowers at the common in Cefn Cribbwr, five miles from Bridgend. Their tribute read: "Your beautiful smile lit our hearts. Why did you leave us, little butterfly? Love always and forever our little Jenny Wren, Mam, Dad, Danielle and Kristian."

Bridgend coroner Phillip Walters is due to open inquests tomorrow into the death of Jenna and earlier victim Nathaniel Pritchard, 15.


If you feel that you or a person you know needs help, contact the Samaritans on 08457 909090 or samaritans. org - or support group Papyrus on 0870 170 4000

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