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Open verdict on man found hanged

PUBLISHED: 09:51 11 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:44 30 June 2010

A 42-year-old man whose body was found hanging at his parents' home was being prosecuted for child cruelty, an inquest heard yesterday.

The body of Martin Lodge was found by his father at an annexe at the home in Back Lane in Burgh Castle, near Great Yarmouth, in the early hours of March 12.

A 42-year-old man whose body was found hanging at his parents' home was being prosecuted for child cruelty, an inquest heard yesterday.

The body of Martin Lodge was found by his father at an annexe at the home in Back Lane in Burgh Castle, near Great Yarmouth, in the early hours of March 12.

At yesterday's inquest, his father Peter Onions said he believed his son had not intended to take his own life, but had killed himself accidentally in a cry for help because he had no contact with his family.

Mr Lodge, who worked in a barber shop, had been living in the annexe after he was arrested and charged with child cruelty after an alleged altercation in November.

The inquest heard that the court case was due to be heard at Norwich Crown Court yesterday and that the child cruelty charge could have been reduced to one of common assault.

Norfolk coroner William Armstrong was told that Mr Onions feared his son would harm himself because he had no direct contact with his wife of four years and family since November.

But Mr Onions added that, on the night before his son's death, Mr Lodge told him he was going to take a short break and was looking forward to working on his classic car.

Mr Onions added: “I knew that he was anxious about his family. He desperately loved his family.”

Mr Armstrong recorded an open verdict into Mr Lodge's death by saying that although Mr Lodge had tried to hang himself he was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to take his own life. He said: “No one is to blame for what happened.”

He added that the way police and crown prosecution service had handled the prosecution and Mr Lodge's bail conditions was “open to question”.


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