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Man found dead near Avenham Park was due in court

Posted on - 4th July, 2017 - 11:26am | Author - | Posted in - Avenham, Crime, News, Parks, Preston City Centre
John Williamson
John Williamson

A man found dead in Avenham Park was standing trial for historic sex offences at Preston Crown Court.

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John Williamson, 70, was accused of 13 counts of rape and indecent assault against three girls between 1969 and 1979.

The case started on Monday June 19, with Williamson in the dock as the prosecution outlined the case to the jury.

It was alleged he raped one of the girls on at least 25 occasions when she was aged between 10 and 14 years old.

One of his victims was eight years old when she claimed Williamson sexually assaulted her.

The third woman claimed she was indecently assaulted by Williams on at least 25 occasions when she was aged between nine and 13.

Williamson, of Winstanley Road, Kendal, denied all charges.

A family member last saw Williamson boarding a train at Burneside Railway Station at 8am on Monday June 26.

However he did not attend court to her Judge Heather Lloyd start her summing up of the week-long trial, and police mounted an urgent search for him.

Officers were called to Avenham Park in Preston the following morning, to reports a man had been found hanged, by the Iron Bridge on South Meadow Lane.

The body was later confirmed to be Williamson.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We were called at around 10.45am on Tuesday, June 27 to South Meadow Lane, Preston, to reports the body of a man had been found hanging.

His death is not being treated as suspicious at this time.”

Specialist officers from Cumbria Police are liaising with Williamson’s family.

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