Hartest man facing sex trial died of CO poisoning on day due in court

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A man died after lighting a barbecue in his bedroom on the day he was due in court to face historic child sex allegations, an inquest has heard.

Martin Knock, 49, was found inside his locked home in The Row, Hartest, when he failed to arrive at Ipswich Crown Court on February 10 for the start of his trial.

Initially the cause of Mr Knock’s death had been unclear but a post-mortem examination revealed his death had been due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

An inquest at Bury St Edmunds yesterday heard that pills were found scattered around the lounge and in a bedroom.

Officers also found a disposable barbecue, which appeared to have been lit while it was on the bed.

Police searched the house and found no evidence that anyone else had been in the property and they arranged for two dogs to be handed over to an animal charity, the inquest was told.

Reading a statement from Mr Knock’s sister, Mandy, Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean said: “The death of Martin has been a complete and utter shock, as were the allegations we read about in the local paper.”

Mr Knock had been due to stand trial after pleading not guilty to a number of allegations of sexual assault involving a girl aged under 13 between 2007 and 2010.

The prosecution was formally discontinued following his death.

Recording an open verdict, Dr Dean said it was impossible to know whether Mr Knock had lit the barbecue with the intention of ending his own life or had been the victim of an accident when he lit it for some other season.

Dr Dean said: “There are unanswered questions about how the death occurred.”