Cumbria

Organist Sanger killed himself 'over child sex charges'

David Sanger
Image caption Mr Sanger was a respected musician

An internationally-renowned organist took his own life after he was charged with child sex crimes, his family said.

David Sanger, 63, was found at his home in Embleton, Cumbria, in May last year three days after he appeared in court.

He was facing allegations of indecent assault and gross indecency dating back more than 30 years in London.

His brother Peter said he "strongly denied" the charges and he felt he was driven to suicide by the trauma.

'Cumulative trauma'

Mr Sanger resigned as president of the Royal College of Organists following his arrest in a bid to clear his name and told family and friends he was "outraged" at the allegations.

His brother said: "We firmly believe that David felt driven to suicide by the cumulative trauma of the events of his final week.

"The dramatic and unexpected nature of his arrest, the comprehensive searching of his home by the Metropolitan Police, the interrogation and the initial court hearing, being released on bail with no money and no means of contacting people - all these experiences had a most traumatic effect."

He added that his brother realised the nature of the charges against him effectively prevented him from pursuing his career.

He said: "He knew of other people whose careers had been ruined by false accusations and knew it would take him years to clear his name with no means of support."

'Body blow'

Mr Sanger did not enter a plea when he appeared before Whitehaven magistrates but indicated he would plead not guilty when the case was heard at crown court.

Mr Sanger said his brother's mood changed when he saw a report about the case in a newspaper.

A post-mortem examination concluded the cause of death was asphyxia.

The inquest in Workington concluded that Mr Sanger killed himself.

North and West Cumbria Coroner David Roberts said: "It is quite clear that the music, the organ and the teaching were all taken from him in one fell swoop.

"The evidence was that he was going to fight [the charges] but it is clear that, when he saw the newspaper article, it was a body blow and his resilience was undermined at that point."

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