Man found hanged in Preston park was facing sex charges

Police have identified the man found hanged in Preston's Avenham Park yesterday as a 70-year-old standing trial on sex charges.

Wednesday, 28th June 2017, 4:06 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:52 am
John Williamson missing since Monday
John Williamson missing since Monday

Officers say the deceased was John Williamson who had been appearing before the city’s Crown Court accused of 13 offences, including five counts of rape.

Williamson, from Cumbria, had been missing since Monday when his week-long trial was nearing an end.

It is believed the alarm was raised yesterday when he failed to report to court to hear Judge Heather Lloyd begin her summing up to the jury.

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His body was found at around 10.30am near to the iron bridge at the entrance to Avenham Park in South Meadow Lane.

Police say his death is not thought to be suspicious.

Williamson, of Winstanley Row, Kendal, had been standing trial in Courtroom 4 on eight charges of indecent assault on women and five rapes.

He had denied all the allegations.

Cumbria Police put out a missing person apppeal on Tuesday saying they were concerned about him. He was last seen at Burneside railway station near Kendal shortly before 8am on Monday.

But in a statement issued this morning, a spokesman said: “Officers searching for a missing 70-year-old Kendal man have found a body in Lancashire.

“The death is not believed to be suspicious and officers are liaising with the family at this time.”