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A woman is dead after performing a series of increasingly dangerous sex acts online at the request of a man watching from his home, police said.
Hope Barden, 21, died while working a second job in the online adult film industry after she was paid to strangle herself while Jerome Dangar, 45, allegedly watched online and then failed to alert authorities when she began to suffocate, police said, according to The New York Post.
Earlier this week, after an inquest into her death, coroner Andrew Haigh ruled the UK woman’s death an “unlawful killing,” according to a statement released by the Staffordshire Police.
“Hope was a 21-year-old woman and her death was tragic,” Detective Inspector John Quilty said in the statement.
Barden’s body was discovered March 15, 2018 by her roommate after she died of asphyxiation in what investigators are calling “sexually related role play” death.
During the investigation, authorities discovered through Barden’s phone that she had been involved in an online relationship with a man for three months who “encouraged her to engage in dangerous acts of a sexual nature.”
Dangar was arrested in connection to the death in May 2018 and authorities were considering charging the 45-year-old with manslaughter after authorities said “there was no attempt to raise any emergency response to the danger he had put her in.”
However, Dangar, who was convicted in January 2019 for possession of extreme pornographic images, was found dead in his cell in April.
“The death of Dangar ultimately prevented prosecutors from charging him in connection with Hope’s death as a result of sexually related role play,” Quilty said. “This type of online sexual activity is extremely dangerous and the repeated persuasion and dangerous requests that Dangar placed on Hope ultimately led to her death.”
Barden’s mother, Kate Barden, said the family was “sorely disappointed” that Dangar would never be brought to justice for her daughter’s death after forcing her into “degrading and dangerous” situations.
“Hope had been earning extra money working in the online adult film industry,” Kate Barden said in the statement released by police. “Unregulated, this industry serves no one except those who wish to perpetrate violence against women.”
She described her daughter as a “beautiful, intelligent young woman” and said her daughter had been working to help care for people with learning disabilities at the time of her death.
“Anyone with daughters or other relatives involved in this terrible industry must be aware of the risk of harm,” she said. “A duty of care exists in any relationship. If someone is obviously in danger, one has a legal obligation to take steps to help.”
Barden’s family and friends have been left devastated by her death, she said.
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