England

Child porn vicar Charles Richardson committed suicide

Charles Richardson Image copyright Other
Image caption Charles Richardson was a vicar in south-east London and former rural dean of Hastings

A Church of England vicar took his own life after being arrested over the possession of indecent images of children, an inquest has decided.

Charles Richardson, whose parish was in south-east London, had been arrested in May 2014 and expected to be charged.

He emailed police "expressing remorse" before his death at St Margaret's Bay, near Dover, the inquest at Folkestone Magistrates' Court was told.

The coroner, Rachel Redman, recorded a verdict of suicide.

Mr Richardson was 60 years old when he took his own life by jumping off cliffs at St Margaret's Bay on 20 November.

The former rural dean and chaplain to the lifeboat in Hastings, East Sussex, had received counselling after an earlier attempt to end his life, the inquest was told.

'Preparing for death'

Before driving to the Kent coast he had sent a text message to a friend saying: "Sorry, car in Dover by the lighthouse. Take care. I can't carry on anymore."

He had also left a message on his partner's desk, the inquest heard.

Mr Richardson had been due to answer bail, knowing he was likely to be charged after indecent images of children were found on his computer.

The vicar of St John the Evangelist, in East Dulwich, had been "fully co-operating" with police, Det Sgt Ben Loose from Kent Police told the hearing.

In leaving notes and messages for his friends, Mr Richardson had been "preparing for his own death", the coroner said.

"[His] was a very sad death," she said.

"It clearly all became all too much for him and he knew the consequences and the effects of the criminal process on his career."

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