A ‘MUCH-loved father’ under police investigation for alleged child sex offences took his own life, an inquest heard.

Stephen Gordon Cheneler died at the age of 51 on Natland Road in between Kendal and Natland on August 30 last year.

Cockermouth Coroners’ Court heard the father of one, from Burton-on-Trent in Staffordshire,  was reported to Cumbria Constabulary by colleagues in Derbyshire as a ‘high risk missing person’ who had not been seen since August 27.

As a result, officers conducted a search around the area of Natland at 00:45 am on August 30 for any sightings of a Volkswagen Transporter vehicle.

Alexander Wilson, a police officer at Kendal station, located the vehicle a short time later in a layby but did not receive any response so requested for additional support, the court heard.

When officers managed to force entry, they discovered Mr Cheneler was already dead, the court was told.

PC Wilson said the man was believed to have been there for over two days after his live location from his mobile phone showed last contact was on August 27 from just south of Kendal.

The court heard that two police bail letters were recovered from the rear of the vehicle, along with a suicide note.

An officer also confirmed that the man was under police investigation for alleged child sex offences.

Evidence from a forensic toxicologist confirmed a ‘substantial concentration’ of carboxyhaemoglobin was found in his blood.

They concluded that this level was ‘very high’ and well within the range attributed to excessive carbon monoxide inhalation.

A report from his GP Practice confirmed that he had never been involved with any other mental health or alcohol services before.

In an antecedent statement read into the court record, his wife Caroline Cheneler said: “I met Stephen in 2009 and we married in 2010. Our son was born in 2011 who he was very proud of.

“Stephen loved his gadgets, boats and enjoyed taking his sailing exams. He also liked to spend many hours gardening.”

Agreeing with the toxicology evidence, Coroner Robert Cohen recorded the cause of death as suicide.

He said: “It could not be clearer to me that he was a much-loved father.

“I am satisfied it is more likely than not that Stephen intended to cause his own death. The note that he left makes it clear he intended to cause his own death or very serious harm.”

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