Rape suspect found dead

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A WIGAN man accused of rape has been found dead on the eve of his trial.

Paul Silvester had been on bail to appear before a Liverpool Crown Court judge and jury on Monday but failed to attend.

It was said at the hearing that he had gone missing at the weekend. A search had been launched but then a report came into the court building that the body of a man, believed to be that of the 39-year-old from Leaholme Avenue, Aspull, had been discovered.

Police had been called to an abandoned car on the Blackrod Bypass at 2.15pm on Monday afternoon.

Inside they found a man’s body - later to be confirmed as that of Silvester.

Paramedics were called but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

A police spokesman said: “There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances and the matter has been referred to the coroner.

“Police are not looking for anyone else in relation to this incident.”

Silvester was arrested 10 months ago and accused of raping a then 37-year-old woman at an address in Ashton-in-Makerfield on March 12.

He was charged with the sexual attack and was also accused of causing actual bodily harm on the same occasion.

Silvester stood before Wigan magistrates last year and was committed to Liverpool Crown Court for trial.

He had been released on conditional court bail pending this week’s trial.

It is understood the inquiry against Silvester will be formally dropped at a hearing on January 21.