Sergeant John Skilling, who ran Gloucestershire force’s schools unit, found in garage after carbon monoxide poisoning
A former police sergeant who ran his force’s schools unit killed himself after detectives found images and stories containing child abuse at his home, an inquest has heard.
Sergeant John Skilling, who resigned from the police following the discovery of the photographs, films and stories on his personal computers, had admitted downloading the material and faced prosecution.
Skilling, 50, left a suicide note and set out details of his financial affairs before barricading himself into his garage of his home in Gloucester. He was found by a friend and a postmortem concluded he died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Detective Inspector Mark Little, head of Gloucestershire’s child abuse investigation team, said an inquiry codenamed Operation Shepherd was launched after intelligence was received that someone using a computer belonging to Skilling had tried to access a website in Luxembourg.
Officers went to Skilling’s home and found pornographic images of children. More than 7,000 still images were found along with 57 movie files. The computers also contained 82 documents containing stories of child abuse, rape and abduction.
Skilling admitted downloading the images over the previous two to three years. He denied having any sexual interest in, or abusing, children but said he found it thrilling because the material was illicit.
Little said the material was submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service, which said the evidence was sufficient to take further criminal proceedings.
Skilling had been in charge of the Gloucestershire force’s schools unit until less than a year before his death in November 2011. He was moved in a reshuffle.
He offered advice to children who were bullied, dealt with internet safety and was involved in the chief constable’s citizenship awards for young people under 16.
Skilling resigned from the police in October 2011 after he was charged with making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children.
On Tuesday, the Gloucestershire deputy coroner David Dooley said there was a clear evidence that Skilling intended to end his life and recorded a verdict of suicide.
Source: The Guardian