Parent's torment after son's suicide

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: Keith Porter Keith Porter

THE family of a well-known sportsman who took his own life after a rape claim say they would not wish their ordeal on anybody.

An inquest, which resumed last week into the death of Keith Porter, 35, heard how he hanged himself at his home in Church Street, Highbridge, on May 29 this year.

When the inquest began in Taunton in September, it was heard how Mr Porter took his own life nearly three months after being arrested on suspicion of raping a woman known to him several years ago.

At that hearing, Mr Porter's mother, Rita, father, Michael, and partner, Pauline Best, insisted there was no truth in the allegation.

West Somerset Coroner Michael Rose had adjourned the hearing to give the woman who made the rape claim an opportunity to attend.

However, she was not at the resumed hearing in Bridgwater last Thursday.

Mr Rose said: “I asked her to communicate with me; she has declined to do so.”

He added: “If the allegations were false it had the most disastrous effect upon him.

“The only other thing that had possibly gone wrong was that he had been made redundant.

“He had been looking for work and no doubt would have found it.

“I believe the allegations affected his mind and in all probability led to the action that he took.”

Mr Rose recorded a verdict that Mr Porter, who had played football for Burnham United and was a keen golfer and skittler, had taken his own life.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Porter's father Michael told the Weekly News: “We would hope that this would never happen to somebody else.

“I want it to be highlighted that this could happen, if somebody makes an allegation like this.

“Why should somebody be able to destroy somebody else?”

Pauline Best said: “Keith was very popular, well-liked and fun.

“People we don't even know still stop us and say 'we can't believe this' and say what a nice guy Keith was.”

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