ordering your own death
Both boys initially told police that a stranger had attacked John and dragged him into the alleyway, where he was stabbed. They gave police a false but detailed description of the attacker and the police, believing the incident had been a mugging that went wrong, launched a manhunt.
Once investigators, led by Detective Chief Inspector Julian Ross, were able to view the CCTV footage of the area, they discovered the awful truth that the boys had been alone in the alleyway and there had been no unknown assailant.
During police questioning, Mark told of how he had been recruited via an internet chat room by Dobinson from the British Secret Service. At that point he still had no idea that it was in fact John who had given the orders to kill.
Sally Hogg, a criminal intelligence analyst, was called in to discover who Dobinson really was. Hogg examined 58,000 lines of disjointed chat room conversation from Mark and John’s laptop computers. Initially the investigation team were somewhat puzzled by what they found and they arrested a young woman from whose email account some of the conversations regarding the killing had come. Investigators soon realised that her email address had been hijacked and used by someone else.
Hogg had made an important discovery and that was that five of the six characters who had contacted Mark had misspelled the word ‘maybe’ as ‘mybye’, leading her to conclude that all these internet characters were in fact one person. The computer experts were also able to ascertain that the last person logged on to John’s computer was ‘Dobinson’.
After ruling out John’s family members, his mother, stepfather and sister, they concluded that the only person using the computer at the time of Mark and Dobinson’s final online conversation was John himself. When police investigators confronted John, he broke down and admitted to what he had done. Detective Chief Inspector Ross believed that it had been a deliberate suicide attempt from a sad and confused young man.