|Richard Saunders. A man whose body was found the day after police raised concerns when he went missing from his village home had been due to appear in court to face child sex offences ©Warwickshire police|
A suspected child rapist and prolific paedophile was found hanged the day before he was due in court.
Richard Saunders' body was discovered in the Briardene area of Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear, 250 miles from his home in Wyre Piddle, Worcestershire, on October 20.
Police began a search for the 57-year-old after he was reported missing from home on October 19. He was last seen driving away from his semi-detached house in his blue Volvo.
Saunders was due to appear in court on October 21 accused of a string of sexual offences, including raping a girl under 13.
He was also charged with indecently assaulting a girl under the age of 14, attempting to rape a girl, and sexual activity with a teenage boy.
Warwick Crown Court heard the allegations took place in the early 2000s.
He was also charged with further sexual offences dating back to the 1970s and 80s.
They included charges of indecently assaulting a girl under the age of 14 and inciting her to commit an act of gross indecency with him.
Adam Western, prosecuting, said: 'This defendant died on the 20th of October.
'He had been sent here for non-recent serious sexual abuse.
'The case had been listed for a hearing on the 21st of October, and he died the day before.
'An interim death certificate has been provided by the police to the Crown Prosecution Service, so I would invite Your Honour to endorse the indictment.'
Judge Barry Berlin said: 'So done.'
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