Felixstowe man Ian Durrands who was on trial over string of child sex allegations is found dead in River Orwell
13:36 29 October 2014
A man has been found dead in the water near the Orwell Bridge six days into his trial over a string of child sex-related allegations.
Ian Durrands, of Cage Lane, Felixstowe, had denied the charges.
His body was found on Monday, the day of his 53rd birthday, after he failed to turn up at Ipswich Crown Court.
Durrands is the second person due in court on child sex charges to have died beneath the Orwell Bridge in the last three months.
In July the body of Peter Thorpe, of Sunfield Close, Ipswich, was found just five hours before his scheduled appearance at the town’s magistrates court. He had been accused of making indecent images of a child and publishing an obscene article.
A subsequent inquest found the 66-year-old had taken his own life.
Suffolk Constabulary has not confirmed the body found on Monday is that of Durrands. However it did confirm a man had died.
Spokeswoman Charlotte Parker said: “Police were called at around 12.40pm on Monday after concerns were raised by a member of the public about a missing relative.
“Emergency services launched a search, and at approximately 1.15pm a man was found on the River Orwell.
“He was pronounced dead at the scene and the death is not being treated as suspicious.
“The matter has been referred to the coroner and an inquest will be opened in due course.”
Durrands had denied three offences of sexual assault of child under 13 between 2004 and 2008 and assault of a child by penetration between 2006 and 2012.
He had also pleaded not guilty to taking revenge between 2008 and 2013 by sending correspondence and setting up, updating, controlling web sites which harmed and were intended to harm a woman and members of her family knowing or believing that she and other members of her family had assisted in the investigation of offences.
In addition he denied two offences of making more than 2,500 indecent pictures of children, one offence of distributing indecent pictures of children and two offences of possessing indecent images of children.
At the time of Durrands’ death the prosecution evidence was still being heard.
His trial began on Monday last week and was due to last at least until the end of this week.
Yesterday Judge John Holt called the jury into court at 10.45am and discharged them after prosecutor David Matthew announced after Durrands failed to turn up at court on Monday his car was found in a layby near the Orwell Bridge.
A body was recovered from the river by the Harwich lifeboat.
Durrands’ driving licence was found on him and he was identified by his brother-in-law.
Judge Holt told the jury:” In the light of these circumstances I formally discharge you. There is nothing further for you to do. I’m sorry it came to this sad end.”
He ordered the indictment to be marked “defendant deceased”.