Sex offender took own life

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A registered sex offender killed himself in a Driffield flat using a canister of helium gas and a plastic bag, an inquest heard.

Robert Lodge, 26, attached a tube from the canister to the plastic bag which he placed over his head before gassing himself on the bathroom floor of his flat in Manor Court, New Road, Driffield.

Mr Lodge’s mother Wendy told the inquest, via a written statement, that his life had been plagued by an “inner demon” which was his sexual attraction to babies and children.

In 2009 he was jailed at Reading Crown Court for possessing computer images of babies and children being abused.

Upon his release, despite having to register as a sex offender and being prevented from working with children, he used a false name to gain a job at a church nursery group near his home in Wokingham, Berkshire.

The inquest heard how Mr Lodge moved to Driffield following his latest release from prison in the summer of last year. It was a brand new start and he appeared happy and had joined a local writers’ group.

His mother, in her statement, added that her son was a talented, intelligent and brave individual and that there was a “clever and wonderful side to him.” But she said: “He had been fighting his demons for a very long time...I knew that he was a very troubled young man and that he would not get better.”

The inquest heard that Mr Lodge had tried to kill himself on several occasions before, once by placing a plastic bag over his head while in prison and on another occasion by overdosing on paracetamol tablets.

He was arrested at Doncaster airport on Christmas Eve last year for breaching his licence conditions by being in possession of a camera when trying to fly to Poland.

In a statement read to the inquest, Det Con Andrew Hughes, of the Humberside Police Public Protection Unit, said she used to visit Mr Lodge in his Driffield flat in her role as his risk management officer. She described him as isolated, lonely and shy and said that, on one occasion, he had allowed her to read some of his personal writing in which he described himself as struggling to communicate. He also stated that although he felt he wanted to be hugged he considered physical contact to be repulsive. In note pads found after his death Mr Lodge stated that he was only a voyeur, the inquest heard.

Paramedic Neal Ingram, of Yorkshire Ambulance Service said he entered the flat on February 24 to find Mr Lodge lying on the bathroom floor with a plastic bag on his head which was connected to a gas canister via a tube.

There was a suicide note left on top of the television, the inquest heard.

Consultant histopathologist Dr Anne Campbell, who carried out a post-mortem examination, said Mr Lodge had died from asphyxia due to the inhalation of helium gas.

Recording a conclusion of suicide, coroner Rosemary Baxter said; “The suicide note conforms his intention.”

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