Man accused of sex offences left note before taking his own life
A MAN from St George accused of multiple sex offences left a note before taking his own life, saying: "I didn't do it".
John Ambrose Smith, 62, of Church Road, was due to face 14 counts of rape in a five-day trial at Bristol Crown Court.
But on September 24, 2012, the day before the trial was due to start, he was found hanged in St George's Park children's play area, a court heard.
At Flax Bourton Coroner's Court it was ruled the recently-divorced Mr Smith committed suicide.
Coroner's officer Kenneth Daniells said Mr Smith was found by members of the public on a wet September morning.
A statement was read out from Charlotte Webber, who came across the body while walking her dog at 7am on September 25. She said: "As the weather was really bad I decided to cut my walk short and head back to the car park. As I walked past the play area I saw a man in a blue coat on the swings. He looked to be kneeling down. At this point I shouted out 'are you all right?'"
Ms Webber then saw another man walking in the park and asked him if he had seen Mr Smith.
After noticing a rope around Smith's neck and realising he was dead she phoned the police.
Officer Jonathan Beswetherick arrived to find fellow officers already dealing with the situation. The play area was cordoned off and Smith was pronounced dead at 7.42am.
The court heard Mr Smith had a history of heart disease and had recently been through a divorce.
Assistant deputy coroner Peter Harrowing confirmed the cause of death as asphyxiation and neck compression.
Post-mortem examinations revealed an alcohol level one-and-a-half times the legal driving limit in Mr Smith's body.
Dr Harrowing said: "He was found in the park at 7am. This was a time when he knew he would be unlikely to be found. He had obviously made some deliberate attempt with the rope.
"Why he took these actions is not certain. There was some indication he was involved in a court case."
He added: "His last words in the recovered note were: 'I didn't do it.'"
Dr Harrowing said he was confident Mr Smith took his own life.
Bristol Crown Court confirmed Mr Smith was due to stand trial accused of 13 counts of rape on a girl under the age of 13 and one count of rape. He was also accused of sexual activity with a girl and inciting a girl into sexual activity.
A spokeswoman at the court said the trial was due to start on September 25.
If you are concerned about someone please call the Samaritans on 08457 909090 day or night.