Webcam star died from asphyxiation after user encouraged her to engage in "dangerous acts of a sexual nature" online

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Webcam girl Hope Barden was discovered dead by her flat-mate in March last year (PA)

A webcam girl who was paid to perform increasingly “dangerous and sexual acts” online was unlawfully killed, an inquest has concluded.

Hope Barden, described as "beautiful and intelligent" worked as a carer for people with learning disabilities but did camera work to earn extra money.

She was discovered dead by her flat-mate on March 15 last year, Staffordshire Police said.

Post-mortem tests revealed she died of asphyxiation.

Examination of her phone showed she had been performing online sex acts for regular service user Jerome Dangar, 45, from Cornwall.

Police inquiries showed Dangar had encouraged Miss Barden to engage in what her family called increasingly "degrading and dangerous" sexual acts, over three months.

Police said a charge of manslaughter, in what would have been a landmark case, was being considered against Dangar before his death earlier this year.

Jerome Dangar had encouraged Miss Barden to engage in what her family called increasingly "degrading and dangerous" sexual acts (PA)

Miss Barden's mother has now criticised the "unregulated" online adult film industry, saying: "It serves no-one except those who wish to perpetrate violence against women.”

The family have now shared a report on the subject with every UK police force, to assist officers in dealing sensitively "should a dreadful situation like this arise again”.

Two months after Miss Barden was discovered unresponsive at home, Staffordshire Police arrested Dangar in connection with her death.

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He was subsequently separately convicted of having extreme pornographic images in January and jailed for 15 months, while the investigation continued.

A file was then submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider a charge of manslaughter.

Detectives had discovered evidence showing Dangar was online while the mental health degree graduate died and that he made no attempt to raise the alarm.

Dangar was found dead in his prison cell in HMP Dartmoor in April (Geograph)

But Dangar was found dead in his prison cell in HMP Dartmoor in April.

At an inquest on Wednesday into the death of Miss Barden at her flat in Wood Street, Burton-upon-Trent, senior coroner for Staffordshire Andrew Haigh concluded she was unlawfully killed, police said.

Following the hearing, Miss Barden's mother Kate described her daughter as “a beautiful, intelligent young woman”.

Detective Inspector John 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.

"The tragic death of Hope, and the potential consequences for Dangar, should send a strong deterrent message to those who engage in such dangerous sexual acts and make requests of others whilst online, anywhere in the UK."

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