Peter Ball: Sex offender bishop died after falls at home

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Peter Ball arriving at the Old Bailey for sentencingImage source, PA
Image caption,
Peter Ball was jailed in 2015 for a string of offences against 18 teenagers and young men

A former bishop who carried out sex attacks on 18 teenagers and young men died following a number of falls at his home, an inquest heard.

Peter Ball was jailed in 2015 after pleading guilty to a string of sex offences.

The ex-Bishop of Lewes and Gloucester was released from prison in February 2017 and died at his home in Langport, Somerset in June.

The Somerset coroner concluded Ball's death was accidental.

The Taunton inquest heard Ball suffered ill health and depression in the years leading up to his death.

Respiratory failure

On 4 June, he was admitted to Musgrave Park Hospital in the town, before being discharged eight days later.

He was readmitted the next day following a fall, having sustained fractures to his rib and left clavicle.

Ball was discharged on 20 June, but fell while attempting to climb stairs to his bedroom hours later.

He was taken back to hospital on the morning of 21 June, before dying having suffered respiratory failure and multiple rib fractures.

Tony Williams, senior coroner for Somerset, said: "Peter Ball suffered a number of falls during which he has sustained multiple rib fractures and gone on to develop a fatal respiratory failure."

Friend of Prince Charles

Ball, of Langport in Somerset, was Bishop of Lewes between 1977 and 1992 and Bishop of Gloucester from 1992 until he resigned the following year.

A report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) said Ball was an example of how a senior member of the Anglican church "was able to sexually abuse vulnerable teenagers and young men for decades".

It accused the Church of England of "putting its own reputation above the needs of victims" and offering secrecy and protection for abusers that allowed them to "hide in plain sight".

Ball had been friends with Prince Charles before the bishop was convicted.

In a written submission to the inquiry, the prince said he felt "deep personal regret" for trusting Ball when initial reports of abuse emerged, years before he was jailed.

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