Wigan man found hanged the day before his court case

Bolton Coroner's Court
Bolton Coroner's Court

A Wigan man took his own life the day before he was due to appear in court accused of making indecent images of children.

Coroner Sarah Watson recorded a verdict of suicide for the death of 42-year-old Simon Parnell.

A dog walker found him hanged in a wooded area in Platt Bridge at around 7am on Tuesday, March 20.

Mr Parnell, of Warrington Road, Spring View, was supposed to appear at Bolton Crown Court the following day accused of five charges - three of making indecent images of a child, as well as possessing a prohibited image of a child and possessing an extreme pornographic image involving dogs.

At a court hearing in February, Wigan magistrates were told he was accused of downloading the images, which was covered by the charge of “making” them. He did not enter a plea and was remanded on conditional bail.

A documentary inquest was held at Bolton Coroner’s Court yesterday, with no witnesses or members of his family in attendance.

It heard Mr Parnell was born in Hampshire and moved to Wigan with his family in 1981.

He suffered from deafness after contracting measles as a child, had never married and lived with his mother and stepfather.

In a statement from his mother Agnes Snape, the inquest heard police went to their home in April last year with a search warrant and took computers and iPads.

Mr Parnell went to the police station and when he returned he told his mother police had found something on his computer.

Officers returned at a later date and Mrs Snape believes her son was arrested then.

He went upstairs when he got home and did not talk about the arrest, but her husband told her about the images that had been found, the inquest heard.

Mr Parnell received a letter with his court date at the end of February, but he did not tell his mother about it.

She noticed he started to go out at 10pm and did not return until the following morning.

His mother asked him about it after three days and he said he had gone to ponds to read.

The statement said Mrs Snape heard her son leave the house at 10pm on Sunday, March 18, but she was not concerned.

However, he did not return the following day and she started to worry.

She knew something had happened when police visited her home on Tuesday, March 20.

In the statement, Mrs Snape said: “Call it mother’s instinct, I just knew he had done something daft.”

His body was found by a dog walker in what the inquest heard was a “rural and remote” location in Platt Bridge.

Police found several items next to him, including a rucksack containing a solicitor’s letter and a tablet computer with a message of apology, as well as a sleeping bag.

Their investigation revealed he was on bail at the time and was due to appear in court the next day.

As a result, Greater Manchester Police’s professional standards branch looked into what had happened and found nothing to indicate that the police had caused or contributed to his death.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Parnell’s death was caused by hanging.

The coroner said she believed Mr Parnell was experiencing “significant turmoil” as his court appearance approached.

She noted the remote location where he was found, the apology on his computer and the way he died.

Miss Watson said “I am satisfied in myself that the deceased did a deliberate act by himself and intended the act and therefore I record the verdict of suicide.”