Gloucestershire

Police officer killed himself after child abuse images arrest

A police officer in Gloucestershire killed himself after being arrested for downloading images of child abuse, an inquest has heard.

Sgt John Skilling, 50, who served with Gloucestershire Police, was on bail at the time of his death.

He died from a "high level" of carbon monoxide poisoning and blood tests showed his alcohol levels were slightly above the drink-drive limit.

A coroner in Gloucester has recorded a verdict of suicide.

'Anxiety and depression'

During the hearing, evidence was submitted about the arrest which was made after 7,700 indecent images were found on his home computer.

Initial analysis suggested the first images dated back to 2007.

In a written statement, Det Insp Mark Little said: "John Skilling denied any sexual arousal from downloading these child abuse images and stated it was a thrill because he knew the images were illicit.

"The district Crown prosecutor reviewed the evidence and reported that had John Skilling not died, there was sufficient evidence to charge him with criminal offences."

Deputy Gloucestershire coroner David Dooley said: "The evidence here is of a man who suffers from anxiety and depression of a long-term nature following the death of his wife from cancer. More particularly following on from the discovery of his illegal actions on his home computer.

"He retired from his position as a police sergeant and one must assume he retired before he lost that position.

"He knew he was facing prosecution in light of both his actions and his admissions. It would appear that he could not face the predicament he had left himself in and that was exhibited in the notes to his children."

The coroner ruled out any other possible cause of death.

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