Penryn man hangs himself after child porn charges

Penryn man hangs himself after child porn charges

Penryn man hangs himself after child porn charges

First published in News
Last updated

A man who hanged himself after discovering he had been charged with possessing indecent images of children had already attempted to take his own life once before.

Anthony Cook, known as Tony, from Herniss, had been told of the charges by police on May 13 this year, the day before he died.

His partner Elizabeth Johns, with whom he lived, said Mr Cook, 54, had told her he had unwittingly downloaded a file containing child abuse after he became involved with file sharing on websites, but had not intended to download images involving children and immediately deleted it when he realised.

He had his computer taken by police before being charged.

Speaking after the inquest Ms Johns said Mr Cook's computer had been taken by police over an unrelated theft incident and the images had subsequently been found.

"It was a totally unrelated incident. He had no worries anything would be found on his computer," she added. 

During the inquest she said: “That caused him a great deal of stress.”

On the day Mr Cook appeared at the police station to be charged, Ms Johns became worried when he did not return to work afterwards and was not at home when she got back in the evening.

She checked that he was not still being held at the police station, then tried calling a personal mobile, which he rarely used, which she noticed was not where he usually left it, and he called her back at around half past nine.

“He wasn’t himself, he was in shock, and he said to me ‘I think you believe I’ve been looking at pictures of children’,” she told the inquest. 

She reassured him that she had never had any reason to think that.”

She said: “He said to me ‘I’ve been sitting here for two hours with a rope around my neck,’ and that took me aback because he’d never mentioned suicide, ever.

“He said ‘I didn’t have the balls to do it’.”

Mr Cook took the day off work on May 14, the day he died, and Ms Johns said she talked to him during her lunch break and was researching the charges he faced.

She said: “I went on the computer because he didn’t seem to understand the charges. He was still in shock by being charged. He didn’t understand what the ‘making’ meant.

“He said, ‘My life is over. It will be all over the papers, you know how the papers report this sort of thing, it’s everywhere at the moment. They’ll have my name and address everywhere, it only takes one person and everybody’s going to know.’

“He said, ‘It doesn’t matter if I get off, because mud sticks and there will always be people who think I’m guilty’.”

She added: “When I left him that morning he had a really haunted look on his face.”

DC Chris Panther from Falmouth Police Station said there was no evidence that anybody else had been involved with Mr Cook’s death, that the house was locked when police arrived and a window had to be smashed for them to gain entry.

A note was also found in Mr Cook’s vehicle, which assistant-coroner Barrie van den Berg said “indicates he intended to do something to himself”, a statement to which DC Panther agreed.

Recording a verdict of suicide, Mr van den Berg said: “I’m sure that Tony Cook was so devastated by being charged, he thought there was only one way out. The note that he left does indicate that he intended to do something to himself. 

“The circumstances were such that it’s not a cry for help but a deliberate intent to end his life.”

 

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