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'Suicide pact' family in mourning

The family of a woman thought to have died after making a suicide pact with a stranger she met online said they are "devastated" to discover that she had "delved into the darker side of the internet".

Relatives said 34-year-old Joanne Lee, of Great Notley, Essex, suffered from low self-esteem, depression and had an eating disorder.

They said Miss Lee struggled with "normal social interaction" and found friends through social networking sites.

Police said post-mortem tests were being carried out on the remains of Miss Lee and Stephen Lumb, 35, of Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, and a report prepared for a coroner.

Both were found in a car parked on an industrial estate in Braintree, Essex, early on Monday.

A source close to the investigation said it was thought that the pair had formed a "chemical suicide pact" hours after making contact on an internet "suicide forum".

It was thought that Mr Lumb had driven from Yorkshire to Essex to meet Miss Lee and die.

Miss Lee's mother, Jill, and stepfather, Brian Chappell, also of Great Notley, recalled "a shy, gentle, thoughtful and caring daughter, sister, and friend".

They said recently Miss Lee had seemed "happy" and relatives thought that she was improving.

"Joanne was a shy, gentle, thoughtful and caring daughter, sister, and friend," said the couple, in a written statement.


From Belfast Telegraph