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UK- Pensioner in sex abuse inquiry killed himself

3-25-2008 United Kingdom:

A PENSIONER linked to a major child sex abuse inquiry shot himself the day before he was due to be questioned by Hampshire police, an inquest was told.

Anthony Whitlock was found slumped in his armchair with a shotgun wound to the head - 24 hours before he was set to speak to detectives about a string of alleged offences in the 1960s and '70s.

An inquest into his death heard how the 72-year-old, of Green Lane, New Milton, took his own life as he "did not want to suffer the consequences of his past".

advertisementGiving evidence at Southampton coroner's court, Detective Constable Beth Morgan-Elliott said Mr Whitlock was originally arrested on January 4 this year on suspicion of child abuse, indecent assault and rape.

Before he could be questioned, he was taken ill and was admitted to hospital in Bournemouth.

While on bail, the inquest heard, Mr Whitlock had made "minor admissions" about his past actions to his partner, Myra Moore.

He had also begun to show signs of depression and had threatened to kill himself, the court was told.

But even though his condition appeared to improve, his partner arrived home on January 16 to find him dead.

Detained Police referred the pensioner's death to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) because of his recent contact with detectives.

Hampshire Police confirmed that he had been detained as part of Operation Crossbow - a squad set up to investigate allegations that children in the New Milton area were subjected to physical and sexual abuse in the 1970s.

Coroner Gordon Denson recorded a verdict of suicide.

l Nine people are awaiting trial as part of the police inquiry.

A plea hearing took place at Southampton Crown Court and proceedings were adjourned until May with a trial date set for September.

Another defendant, Kenneth Milton, 71, died at his home in Ventnor Court, Southampton, earlier this year.

Milton had been charged with indecently assaulting a girl under the age of 14. ..more.. by Echo Reporter

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