Northamptonshire dad learns of son's Bridgend suicide through Friends Reunited

A grieving father from Northamptonshire whose teenage son took his life in Bridgend only learned of his death over the internet.

Anthony Martin, 19, died on 26 April last year - one of 17 youngsters to have committed suicide in the Welsh county.

But it was not until eight months later that his dad Richard found out after looking at his ex-wife Tracey's page on the social networking website.

Richard, 44, was horrified to read that Tracey had written : "I have just lost my son."

He made desperate inquires with the Bridgend coroner and learned Anthony had suffered depression and had been harming himself before he died.

Anthony had been been living alone in his flat on Heol Ty Maen since he was 18.

He worked as a catering assistant in Bridgend's Sony factory before being made redundant.

He died in the same area of Bridgend as other suicide victims Jenna Parry, Nathaniel Pritchard and Kelly Stephenson.

Speaking today, Richard, who had lost contact with Anthony and his older sister Stacey in recent years, said he was alerted to Anthony's death when his wife Sarah, 35, found Tracey's comments on the internet.

Richard, from Spruce Court, Kettering, said: "It is no way for a parent to find out a child has died. It was devastating and I was very upset.

"I had to contact the coroner myself and send him a copy of my driving licence before he gave me the details of Anthony's death.

"I asked why I had not been informed. He said there is nothing that says an absent parent has to be informed.

"It was such a terrible shock to find out this way. There must be other absent mothers and fathers who are in a similar situation and I think it is wrong that they are not told.

"The law needs to be changed. I had supported Anthony financially. I had not seen him since he was 14 or 15 but I had always given him the option of meeting."

Richard married Tracey when he was in the army and Anthony was born when they were living in Germany. Eighteen years ago when he returned from serving in the Gulf, Tracey said she wanted a divorce.

The couple split and he married Sarah. They have an eight-year-old daughter called Lara.

Although he was living a long way from his first family, Richard stayed in touch until a few years ago. Stacey, now 22, lived with him, Sarah and Lara for three years when she was a teenager.

Richard, who now works as a courier, said: "It is terrible what has been happening in Bridgend. I believe they must have a cult on the internet involving youngsters down there.

"Although I did not see much of him, I loved Anthony. I won't stop until I get answers about what happened."

He is still waiting to receive details from the coroner.