Inquest finds ex-teacher questioned in Kesgrave Hall child abuse inquiry took his own life

Man with indecent images spared jail

Man with indecent images spared jail - Credit: PA

A former teacher questioned over abuse allegations in the Kesgrave Hall school inquiry committed suicide after an online paedophile investigation unit went to his house, an inquest heard.

Michael Lafford had not been arrested during the long-running investigation into the former Suffolk school, but officers from Operation Garford had been to Oxfordshire to speak to him.

The ex-languages teacher, house parent and Ofsted inspector was among the teachers and care workers accused of child abuse at Kesgrave Hall dating back to the 1970s.

He was quizzed under caution in April last year on allegations of physical abuse.

However, when Thames Valley Police’s paedophile online investigation unit went to the 67-year-old’s home in Bicester last November to search his house as part of a separate inquiry Mr Lafford took an overdose of medication.

Detective Sergeant Paula Morgan told his inquest in Oxford that the unit was working with intelligence that Mr Lafford possessed indecent images of children.

An internal police investigation found he had planned to take his own life for a long time and the police’s presence led to him doing so.

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The inquest heard as officers knocked on his front door and identified themselves, colleagues at the rear of the property saw Mr Lafford swallowing pills.