A GRANDFATHER took his own life on the day he was due to sentenced for historic child sex abuse offences.

Owen Goff, 68, who claimed he was innocent, told his brother he feared he would be jailed for 25 year and could not face being locked up.

He drove to a gateway in Pop Lane, Chard, where he took his life.

Mr Goff had been due to be sentenced at Exeter Crown Court for raping and indecently assaulting a teenage girl 30 years ago.

His brother Adrian said they were not close and he did not know about his impending jail sentence.

He said his brother went to see him to protest his innocence and "tell me his side of the story".

Adrian said Mr Goff claimed he had been "stitched up" and his only option was to "top himself".

Mr Goff contacted a friend to say he did not need a lift to court that day and to look after his dog, saying: "I have made other arrangements."

A teenage student discovered Mr Goff's car and his body lying beside it on July 5 and contacted police, who later discovered a suicide note at his home in Jubilee Close, Chard.

Senior Somerset coroner Tony Williams recorded a suicide conclusion and said Mr Goff died from head wounds caused by a shotgun.

Mr Goff was allowed bail by a judge at Exeter Crown Court to put his affairs in order ahead of sentencing for the sex offences.

After hearing of his death, Judge Timothy Rose said: “This is a very tragic and sad outcome to this case.”

Mr Goff, originally from Chardstock, had been found guilty at trial of six counts of indecent assault and one of rape after grooming his victim from the age of 11.

If you have been affected by this story, contact Samaritans for free on 116 123. The Somerset Suicide Bereavement Support Service also offers a 24-hour helpline, on 0300 330 5463.