Preston man took own life before court date

Preston docks
Preston docks
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A man took his own life in Preston docks just days before he was due to appear in court.

Martyn Cunliffe, of Walton’s Parade, Preston, drank vodka and left his girlfriend a note, before vanishing and sparking a five-day manhunt, an inquest heard.

Martyn Cunliffe was found in Preston docks in  August 2016

Martyn Cunliffe was found in Preston docks in August 2016

Coroner Richard Taylor was told the 26-year-old, who was taking anti-depressants, was reported missing on August 22, 2016 – just two days before his crown court date.

But after five days of searching, Mr Cunliffe – who was accused of possessing and making indecent images of children – was found in the dock.

He was found with a rucksack and white bicycle on August 27, with a post mortem suggesting he’d been submerged in the water several days.

Following the inquest at Preston Coroner’s Court yesterday, Mr Cunliffe’s family said: “We are heartbroken and desperately missing him.

We wish this didn’t happen but it has and we will think about him every day.

“We wish this didn’t happen but it has and we will think about him every day.”

DI Peter Danby from Preston Police, who had attended the scene when Mr Cunliffe was found, told the inquest his investigation could find no suspicious circumstances.

He said a combination of the letter left by Mr Cunliffe, his depression and the circumstances surrounding the death, led him to believe it was suicide.

DI Danby said the letter to his girlfriend included an apology and an intent to self-harm.

Dr Mark Pitt, a pathologist at Royal Preston Hospital, gave evidence to the coroner’s court, saying that he believed that the body had been in the water for a number of days.

Taking in all the evidence, Mr Taylor ruled in his conclusion Mr Cunliffe’s death was suicide.

He said: “He made the decision to go into the docks to take his own life. I offer my sincere condolences.”