Wales

Photographer Keith Morris 'took his own life' after sex offences arrest

Keith Morris Image copyright Dyfed-Powys Police
Image caption Keith Morris was described as an "Aberystwyth institution" after his death last year

A well-known photographer took his own life after being arrested about allegations of sexual offences, an inquest has heard.

The body of Keith Morris, 61, from Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, was found on the beach in Borth on 5 October, a day after he was reported missing.

The cause of death was drowning, an inquest in the town heard.

The freelance press and wedding photographer had been a regular contributor on radio and television.

Mr Morris had been reported missing by his wife who found a note on the kitchen table.

In the note - which was written in Welsh - Mr Morris said that he was going for a walk and asked his family to please remember him.

In a statement to Dyfed-Powys Police, Mrs Morris said she knew then that her husband had gone.     

Ceredigion coroner Peter Brunton read a part of Mrs Morris' statement in which she said that in the week before he died, Mr Morris had been questioned by the police.

Following this, she said, he had been constantly doing research on his phone - trying to find out what the outcome could be and the effect on his family.

She said he had told her it would "make our lives easier in the long term if he wasn't there".

At the inquest, temporary Sergeant Daniel Hughes said the force had received a report of alleged sexual offences in April 2019 in which Keith Morris was named.

He was arrested in September and questioned at Aberystwyth police station.

Sgt Hughes said Mr Morris had denied the allegation and, following questioning, he was released on bail. He was not charged with any offence. 

'Enormous strain and great distress'

When Mrs Morris reported her husband missing he was treated as a high risk missing person, said Sgt Hughes.

An extensive search was launched and a red coat identified as belonging to Mr Morris was found near Clarach, north of Aberystwyth.

Sgt Hughes also told the inquest that a mobile phone was recovered, on which there was a video recorded by Mr Morris. In the video, he apologises to his family and tells them how much they mean to him.

In another message found by police, which Mr Morris had sent to a client, he said: "Because of a major crisis in my life I am no longer able to work as a photographer."

The inquest also heard from Andrew Sanderson, who had seen Mr Morris walking down the coastal path near Clarach on the afternoon of 3 October.

He said he knew Mr Morris and that he had nodded and exchanged pleasantries with him, but didn't notice anything unusual in his demeanour.

Recording a verdict of suicide, the coroner said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Morris, which occurred, he said, at a time of "enormous strain and great distress".

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