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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Gifted Croydon schoolboy, 16, took his own life after being blackmailed over nude photos

A talented sixth form student from south London took his own life after a blackmailer threatened to send nude photographs of him to his online followers.

“Caring” and “gentle” Dinal De Alwis, 16, was a top pupil at Whitgift School in Croydon, where he excelled both in the classroom and on the sports field.

The gifted all-rounder represented the prestigious boys’ private school in football and rugby, and was hoping to study economics at the University of Cambridge, having earned straight A*s at GCSE.

But Dinal tragically took his own life on October 27, 2022, after receiving threatening messages from an anonymous blackmailer, who has still not been identified.

His grief-stricken father Kaushallya De Alwi told a recent inquest at South London Coroner’s Court: “His loss is the biggest possible loss. It is so incredibly painful. The fact that he ended his life in this way...the world is so cruel.”

On October 26, 2022, Dinal had just finished dinner at his family’s home in Sutton when he uncharacteristically told his mother to “leave me alone”.

It is now thought he had been contacted by his blackmailer at that point.

Dinal played football and rugby for Whitgift School (Collect)

At 1am, Dinal was sent two nude photographs of himself, by a person who reportedly wrote: “So you think blocking me can stop me? What do you want me to do – you want me to send to all of your followers? Why can't you just pay me? £100?”

Dinal replied with a message saying he presumed the photos had already been sent to his followers, according to MailOnline.

He is also said to have sent “goodbye” messages his mother, father, and two brothers.

Mr De Alwis reportedly told his son’s inquest: “[Dinal] messaged my wife and I to say he loved us, and he told his two brothers that he loves them, and said they need to ‘look after mum and dad’.”

The schoolboy left his home for the last time around 2am, and his body was tragically found around an hour later, by a building from which he had fallen.

An inquest has concluded his death was suicide.

The identity of Dinal’s blackmailer is still not known, but police reportedly believe they may have been operating from Nigeria.

“Dinal was the most caring son,” Mr De Alwis told the inquest, according to MailOnline. “He was bright. He got straight A*s in all of his subjects at GCSEs and was top of the school for English and economics.

“We come from Sri Lanka, so we were so proud to hear he was so good at English.


“He was brave. He played for the football and rugby teams at Whitgift School. He never asked for anything from us. He was always happy with what he had.”

Mr De Alwis said he wished his son - who was usually “very open” with him about topics such as girlfriends - had told him about what was going on, and said he is now “very worried” about the dangers social media can pose to young people.

“I think [Dinal] wanted to avoid any shame from the images going public,” the father told MailOnline. “I wish he had spoken to us.

“He had always been so open in the past. But I think that when things are happening online, live, it feels like there is no time. He did nothing wrong.”

Mr De Alwis believes the nude images may have been taken by a girl while they were with Dinal, before they ended up in the blackmailer’s hands.

He told MailOnline he was also aware that some blackmailers pose online as young, attractive girls, exchanging nude photographs before using them for extortion.

“The grieving is never ending,” Mr De Alwis told MailOnline.

“Young people underestimate the dangers around them. There must be ways of tracking these things and parents should have access. I don't want this to happen to anyone else.”

Chris Ramsey, headmaster at Whitgift School where parents pay fees of up to £48,000 a year for boarding their children, paid tribute to Dinal on Monday.

"Dinal was a kind-hearted, bright and immensely talented young man both in the classroom and in all of his co-curricular activities – he always approached everything with determination and good humour,” he said.

“His loss has been challenging for the entire school community, particularly amongst his closest friends and tutors, leaving a void that is still felt very deeply. We continue to pay tribute to him, knowing that life’s fragility demands our compassion and vigilance."

After his death, Dinal’s friends set up a Gofundme page to raise money in his memory for mental health charity Young Minds Trust.

“Lovely Dinal we think of you and miss you everyday, our love and prayers go to you and your family,” wrote one supporter. “We hope our donation can help others.”

Another paid tribute to Dinal as “a fine young man who left us far too soon”.

The Met Police has been approached by the Standard for a comment.

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