Newcastle man hanged himself on day of child sex court case

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A 62-year-old Newcastle man was found hanging by his neck the day he was due to face sex allegations in court, an inquest was told.

Former soldier Richard Reginal Ralph was found dead in his Newcastle-under-Lyme home on Kent Grove.

He had hanged himself from the rafters of his loft, with a stepladder underneath him, North Staffordshire Coroner’s Court heard.

Ralph, born in London, was due in court that morning to face historical child sex allegations against him.

He was found by Det Con Karen Wild, who was investigating the sexual allegations, on January 12.

As part of his bail, Ralph was told he was not allowed to make any contact with the alleged victim.

But he broke this condition by sending the alleged victim a message over Facebook.

DC Wild went to Ralph’s home when he failed to turn up to court that morning.

She told the inquest: “I went to his home and the curtains were drawn.

“The door was locked and so I called a locksmith to get keys cut for the house.

“When I returned, the door was unlocked.”

Assistant Coroner Anthony Curzon heard how DC Wild entered the property and from the door could see Ralph’s bedroom.

“I went into the house calling his name and tended to his dog who was barking.

“I walked through to the bedroom and then became aware of a figure to my right.”

DC Wild assumed Ralph had simply come out of the room to meet her.

“I then realised that he was hanging. His body was cold and his hands were clenched,” she added.

Ralph had been in the army in the 1970s before being discharged after going absent without notice a number of times.

He was also part of the Mods and Rockers culture in the 1970s and 1980s.

In June 2015, Ralph had been admitted to hospital with an alcohol overdose.

A pathology report into his death found the amount of alcohol found in his blood was the equivalent of a pint of beer.

DC Wild said: “There were some notes on the table in the lounge.”

She told the inquest the contents of the letters showed Ralph’s intent to end his own life.

Assistant Coroner Mr Curzon said: “The body of the deceased was found hanging by his neck.

“He had a number of serious criminal offences against his name at the time of his death.

“My conclusion to this death is that the deceased committed suicide.”

(Additional reporting by Katie Day)

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