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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Sex offender killed himself days after release from prison

A convicted sex offender killed himself after spotting a girl he thought was his victim days after his release from prison, an inquest heard.

John Davidson, 45, was found hanged in his room at the Bowling Green Hostel in Lowther Street, Carlisle city centre, after serving a sentence for sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

Robert Chapman, deputy coroner for north and west Cumbria, heard that Davidson, previously of Ellenfoot Drive, Maryport, had been charged with raping the girl but admitted the lesser offence.

In March last year, he was jailed for 16 months but released on licence last July because of time served on remand.

His former partner, Leona Lawson, told the inquest, in Cockermouth, that he felt he had been wrongly charged, but his lawyer advised him to plead guilty.

The inquest heard he also felt his probation officer had labelled him a rapist.

Davidson’s friend, Stewart Mawson, visited him in Carlisle on July 6, the day before he died.

Mr Mawson told the court the ex-railway worker had been drinking, but was in good spirits until they were in a supermarket car park. There he spotted someone he thought was the girl involved in his court case.

Mr Mawson said Davidson felt wronged.

He added: “His version of events was that she invited him to have sex with her. He’d been labelled as a paedophile. He told me after he signed the register he was finished.”

He said Davidson talked about killing himself but he had talked him round. Davidson was in good spirits when he returned to the hostel just before 11pm.

Later he argued with Ms Lawson on the phone about his continued drinking.

The next afternoon another resident told staff Davidson hadn’t been seen all day.

Hostel worker David Hind went to his room and found him hanged from the door.

Probation officer Pamela Bowker said paperwork she was given before a pre-release visit referred to the wrong charge but that had been changed and she had apologised to Davidson for the confusion.

She said he was concerned about being labelled high risk and the restrictions of his licence, which stopped him entering Allerdale – where his family lived – without permission.

Medical reports showed Davidson had a history of alcohol dependency and had made previous suicide attempts.

Mr Chapman said: “When he was in drink all sorts of problems arose. Whatever the rights and wrongs of his conviction, it played substantially on his mind and he felt it was unfair.

“Clearly on this particular night he had had too much to drink and he was also badly affected by seeing his victim or thinking he’d seen his victim.”

He recorded Davidson had killed himself. Speaking after the inquest, daughters Leanne and Lauren paid tribute to their father.

Leanne added: “We had our ups and downs but he wasn’t what he was labelled.”

The inquest heard that, at the time of Davidson’s death, it was hostel policy to wake residents on weekdays but to leave them at weekends. That has since changed and checks are made on those who have not been seen by 10am at weekends.

A report by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Service said there was little hostel staff could have done to prevent Davidson’s death.

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