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‘Dark secret’ of Padiham man found dead
A PADIHAM man who confessed to having a ‘dark secret’ was found dead weeks after being questioned on suspicion of indecent assault.
Rodney Leighton, 69, had told his best friend that he wanted to see the police regarding the matter, Burnley Coroner’s Court was told.
Police later confirmed that Mr Leighton, of Cardwell Street, had been arrested — and while he was released without charge on one matter, he remained on bail for a second alleged offence.
Peter Branch, a former workmate of Mr Leighton, said after telling him his ‘secret’,’ his friend became ‘a little paranoid’.
In a statement, Mr Branch added: “He said that if he was ever arrested then he would kill himself.”
But he told the hearing: “He always said that he wouldn’t have the bottle to do it. Ultimately he was quite a quiet man and he didn’t have a bad bone in him, I used to think.
“His state of mind, it must have been completely overwhelming for him to do it anyway.”
The inquest heard that because of concerns expressed by Mr Branch, police forced entry into his home and found Mr Leighton’s body. Consultant pathologist Dr Mohammed Al-Daoud later gave the cause of death as hanging.
The inquest heard that Mr Leighton had been lonely following the death of his wife in 1996.
East Lancashire Coroner Richard Taylor recorded a suicide verdict.
A police spokesman said that Mr Leighton had been bailed on the indecent assault charge.
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