Lancashire

Blackpool fake death man Leslie Andrews tried 'suicide'

A man facing child sex allegations who faked his own death has told a jury that he twice tried to kill himself weeks before disappearing.

Leslie Andrews wanted people to believe he had drowned in the sea at Blackpool, after he left a note in his parked car.

He disappeared days after police had told him a complaint had been made, remaining missing for eight years.

The former cafe owner, who was found in Wakefield, told Preston Crown Court he simply wanted a new life.

The 54-year-old, who went missing in May 2002, had assumed a new identity and avoided medical treatment or using his National Insurance number to remain hidden from the authorities.

'Evade arrest'

Mr Andrews said there was not one reason why he left Blackpool but denied it was over the sexual allegations.

Earlier in May 2002, he had tried to take his own life on the same day on two separate occasions near to the Pontin's holiday camp, he said.

But on both occasions - in trying to gas himself in his car and drown himself - he had changed his mind as he saw it as "fate".

Paul Cummings, cross-examining, said: "I suggest this is a fabrication and those events were not real and they were part of a deception by you to evade arrest."

Mr Andrews denied that was the case and said he did not even know the nature of the allegations when two police officers appeared at the door of his former flat.

He agreed that he may have discussed with his former wife about faking his own death because of debt problems.

Andrews told the court he owed about £15,000 to different sources and agreed he had not wanted to be located by the authorities.

"It was because I did not succeed in what I had set up to do in the first place," he said.

"I just wanted a new life."

He denies 14 counts of indecent assault against a girl between May 1997 and May 2002.

The trial continues.

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