‘Innocent but destroyed’ GP took life over child sex case

Dr Andrew Stanford
Dr Andrew Stanford
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A YORKSHIRE GP of 27 years who was due in court facing child sex charges, left behind a note saying “Innocent but destroyed” before taking his own life, an inquest has been told.

Dr Andrew Stanford, 67, of Riccall, near Selby, had always protested his innocence after being charged with the offences against two girls aged 10 and 11.

The inquest, at Selby this week, heard that on July 6, soon before he was due to appear in court, Dr Stanford was reported missing.

The following day he was found dead in a room above the garage at his home.

His widow, Margaret, told the inquest that her husband had been deeply upset by the charges, and that she “totally believed” in his innocence.

Mrs Stanford said she and her family now intended to complain to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

It is claimed Dr Stanford, who had retired in 2004 but kept his licence, had felt “persecuted” by the police investigation and was deeply worried about potential Press reports into the charges and the impact that they would have on his family.

“He found the whole thing so abhorrent he could not talk about it,” Mrs Stanford told the inquest.

“When it first happened in March he was bewildered.

“He did not know how or why the accusations were made, then when he was interviewed he came out saying the allegations had been upped to a more serious nature and he was totally flabbergasted. He was a good man, and I wanted to do his memory justice. I also wanted to express my concerns about the way he was treated by the police during the investigation, because I believe this led to his death.”

The day before Dr Stanford was reported missing, he received a letter from the General Medical Council asking him to appear before a panel questioning his fitness to practise.

His wife told the inquest that this was the “last straw”.

“He felt nobody believed him,” she said. “He could not take any more.”

Mrs Stanford added that her husband had not lied to her in 40 years of marriage.

Recording a verdict of suicide, North Yorkshire coroner Rob Turnbull said: “He was upset and disturbed by the court case that was to come.

“In these notes he repeated that he was innocent but made it clear that his intention in what he did was to end his life to save his family any anguish.”