First picture of woman in car chemical suicide pact

THIS is the first picture of Joanne Lee, the ‘shy, gentle’ woman who took her own life in a suicide pact with a stranger she met online.

The picture was released by Miss Lee’s family, who said they were “devastated” to discover that she had “delved into the darker side of the internet”.

She and Stephen Lumb, of Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire, were found dead in a Vauxhall Astra parked on an industrial estate in Braintree on Monday.

Relatives said 34-year-old Miss Lee, of Great Notley, suffered from low self-esteem, depression and had an eating disorder.

They said Miss Lee struggled with “normal social interaction” and found friends through social networking sites.

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Police said post-mortem tests were being carried out on the remains of Miss Lee and Mr Lumb, 35, and a report prepared for a coroner.

Their bodies were discovered on Monday morning in the front seats of a Vauxhall Astra parked on an industrial estate in Braintree. The car was filled with the deadly chemical hydrogen sulfide.

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A source close to the investigation said it was thought that the pair had formed a “chemical suicide pact” hours after making contact on an internet “suicide forum”.

It was thought that Mr Lumb had driven from Yorkshire to Essex to meet Miss Lee and die.

Miss Lee’s mother, Jill, and stepfather, Brian Chappell, also of Great Notley, said in a statement: “Joanne was a shy, gentle, thoughtful and caring daughter, sister, and friend.

“Joanne suffered bouts of low self-esteem and depression and had an eating disorder that developed into anorexia nervosa. She was receiving NHS treatment for these conditions right to the end.

“Finding normal social interaction difficult, she found her friends through various social networking sites.

“In more recent times, we thought that her condition was improving. She seemed more content than she had been for a long time. She seemed happy.

“It was devastating for family and friends to discover that she had delved into the darker side of the internet.

“We were not aware of any connection with Steve Lumb or any involvement in

suicide websites.

“We are a close and loving family and our loss is devastating. Our thoughts go out to the family of Mr Lumb.’’

Mr Lumb’s father Melvyn, who shared a home with Stephen, said: “I loved him. I will miss him everyday of my life. I will miss him every minute of every day. I thought the world of him. I couldn`t have had a better son.”

It is understood that after the pair had made contact on the internet, truck driver Mr Lumb then drove 200 miles to Braintree to meet Miss Lee where they met for the first time just hours before they died.

A post made on a suicide website dated September 4 from someone calling themselves ‘heavens little girl’ reads: “I know you guys don’t like pacts but I’m desperate. I haven’t got the strength or the energy to do this on my own any more.

“I’m not a cop or a cannibal or a murderer, I’m just someone who is very desperate right now.

“My preferred method is H2S, I have all the ingredients and I would like to do it ASAP.

“If you are *very* serious, please email me.”

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