A 20-year-old American man has been sentenced to life in jail after traveling to the United Kingdom to meet and stab a brother and sister pair he met in an online gaming community. Shane Coffey, from Boston, Massachusetts, traveled all the way to Epsom, Surrey, to enact his heinous crime. According to police, Coffey planned the assault with “disturbing precision.” Authorities are not blaming the online game for the attack, instead it is the means of stalking his would be victims.
According to MSN News, Shane Coffey planned out his assault over a period of time, ensuring the details were perfect in form. He made the trip to the United Kingdom with an intent to harm a 19-year-old woman. He arrived on April 18 and broke into her house when he realized she was home. Inside, he repeatedly attacked her with a knife. Her 23-year-old brother came to her rescue, also suffering wounds from the attack. According to Surrey Police, Coffey was restrained by family members of his victims and held for the police to arrive.
“Coffey, who was known to the victims through previous contact via online gaming, was restrained by the family and arrested by officers who attended minutes later.”
Sky News reported that Shane Coffey had been in constant contact with the victims while playing online video games. The two targets attempted to cut ties with Coffey, but he insisted on continuing to bully the pair. According to Temporary Chief Inspector Antony Archibald, the entire incident was unusual.
“This case was extremely complex and involved a set of unusual circumstances which could never have been foreseen by the victims.”
Police are convinced that Coffey’s intention was to kill the brother and sister during the attack. They credit the bravery of the family members and their courageous act of restraining Coffey to the survival of the brother and sister.
Police from the United Kingdom and the United States are using the grim case as a reminder to use caution when sharing information with individuals online, whether in gaming communities or social networking. Antony Archibald shares his advice.
“While this kind of incident could not have been anticipated and is extremely rare, it is a clear reminder of the dangers that the internet may pose.”
He continued, “We would always urge caution when engaging with people you do not know online, and would strongly advise that you do not give out any personal details whatsoever.”
Have you experienced any frightening incidents with individuals that you met online?
[Photo Courtesy: Sky News]