Calls for sharing distressing footage online to be banned after teenagers died at Black Country street racing event

A grieving aunt has explained why she had started a petition for a change in the law to stop people filming and sharing scenes of death and devastation for all to see on social media.

Gemma Perry started the petition to help push through "Liberty's Law" around the filming of deaths and being put on social media
Gemma Perry started the petition to help push through "Liberty's Law" around the filming of deaths and being put on social media

Gemma Perry started the petition after discovering someone had videoed the accident that led to the death of her niece Liberty Charris.

The video was subsequently uploaded to social media, leading to a string of comments from those that viewed it.

Liberty’s family say they were deeply distressed by the video and the attention it brought from those who viewed it.

But they say they are completely helpless in doing anything to remove the offending footage or the associated comments.

Liberty, aged 16, was killed in November as she joined a crowd watching a street racing event in the Black Country. She died along with her friend Ben Corfield after being hit by a car on Oldbury Road, Oldbury, on November 20.

Detectives investigating the deaths have still to make a breakthrough and both Liberty and Ben’s families made an appeal earlier this month for those with information to break their silence and speak to police.

Ben Corfield and Liberty Charris

But, while those who follow car cruising appear reticent to talk, they are happy to write flippant and upsetting comments online.

Ms Perry said the video on Snapchat, which showed footage of the accident and the chaotic aftermath, showed people laughing and making graphic descriptions of the scene. She said it had made her so angry to see people making light of an accident that left her niece dead.

She said: “I saw the video, which showed her as she passed away and there was laughter in the background and someone saying how mangled they looked, and it just boiled my blood to see it.

“We as a family have been going through so much since the accident and losing Liberty and it’s just horrible to see a video being uploaded to social media showing what happened.”

The impact of the deaths of Liberty and Ben is still being felt two months later, with the families desperate for a breakthrough in the police investigation.

A 54-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, but was released on police bail and is continuing to assist with inquiries.

A man and woman in their 20s were also struck in the accident and taken to hospital with injuries that were not life threatening.

Ms Perry said she was still dealing with her anger with the video, as well as finding out that there were videos of other accidents and incidents being uploaded to social media for anyone to view and no law to stop it from happening.

She said: “I have been over this with the police, but when I saw the video, it did just cause so much anger, and then you hear about other people who have been through this and it seems to be becoming a regular thing.

“It’s bad to think that’s what is going on these days and when I spoke to the police about this, they said they couldn’t do anything, which is when it really hurts.”

Ms Perry said that she is very unhappy at there being no law in place to stop videos of people dying being uploaded to social media and started the petition to bring a stop to the practice.

The petition has already reached around 3,000 signatures and she said it was the start of an action to bring more attention to videos of these incidents, to education around CPR and to bring forward a debate around what she was calling ‘Liberty’s Law’. She said: “One thing we definitely want is for more teaching around CPR in schools because we don’t know if Liberty could have been saved and while there is a video showing someone else getting CPR, no one is doing it for Liberty.

“We want the impact of the petition to be for it to be put in schools and workplaces and to be put in law. I understand there are going to be people filming, but what sickens me is the way that people can laugh and joke and I think a law should be in place to ensure they can be prosecuted for this. We just don’t want anyone to go through what we have been through as a family.”

Gemma Perry said she was sickened to see videos of people laughing after the incident which killed her niece Liberty Charris

Liberty’s father Andy spoke earlier this month as he appealed for witnesses to come forward. He said his world was “smashed to absolute pieces” by the loss of his daughter.

And he said that, despite police scouring CCTV from the scene, there had been an “extremely poor lack of witnesses coming forward”.

He added: “We cannot put into words the devastation this has caused to all of us as a family and close friends.

“I personally would not wish this pain and suffering on my worst enemy. I pray that no one I know will ever have to go through this in the future. Because of this I implore anyone who was there that evening to please, please get in touch with the police in complete confidence and provide a written statement. It does not matter how small you feel the information is. All will help the police piece what happened together and would mean so much to us all.”

Large crowds of friends and family attended the funerals of Liberty and Ben, which were both held earlier this month.

A Snapchat spokeswoman said it has a "zero tolerance" to misuse of its platform.

She added: "This is a tragic case and our hearts go out to the victim's family. Using Snapchat to share videos of harmful content is strictly against our rules.

"If we become aware of this content being shared, we will delete it immediately and the account may be removed."

To sign the petition, visit

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