Murphy's Concern at Suicide Statistics; Welsh Secretary Tells of His Distress at Cluster of Deaths

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Byline: Gavin O'Connor

HIGH-LEVEL discussions have taken place over the spate of suicides in South Wales prior to a House of Commons debate on the issue this week.

Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy has spoken about the tragic cluster of recent deaths with Assembly First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

In a Commons written reply to Bridgend Labour MP Madeleine Moon, Mr Murphy said: "Such tragic incidencesare of great concern and distress to me."

His comments come after it was revealed 20 young people had taken their lives in Bridgend in 2006 and figures for Wales, overall, show suicide rates are more than a third higher than those in England.

South Wales Police are also reviewing a number of cases after 13 apparent suicides among people under the age of 26 in the Bridgend are a in the year up to January 2008.

On January 17, Natasha Randall, 17, of Blaengarw, near Bridgend, was the latest youngster to be found hanged and the incident is being investigated, although it is not yet clear if there is a link to the other deaths. …