Sunday, September 27, 2009

College Reverend found dead faced investigation over child indecency

College Reverend found dead faced investigation over child indecency
Sep 27 2009 Mark Mcgivern

A CAMBRIDGE University churchman who was found dead in his home faced child sex allegations in Scotland.

Police were investigating indecency claims against the Rev Ian Thompson, 50, who is thought to have killed himself.

Thompson, the dean of chapel at King's College, died of asphyxiation at his house in Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire, on Thursday.

The Glasgow-born cleric had already been reported to the procurator fiscal by Strathclyde Police over indecency allegations in Kilmarnock.

His widow, Ann, said: "He was a wonderful man who was well-loved by people of all walks of life."

A university spokesman said: "We are neither confirming or denying any of the allegations."

Fourth-year student John Syfret, 23, who knew Thompson through the university rowing club, said: "He said he was over-worked, taking on too much and needed time off.

"He was on leave for most of last year and no one was sure why.

"There were rumours he was ill but no one ever suggested he had done anything dodgy.

"He was meant to come back to work in Easter term but suddenly and unexpectedly requested to remain on leave.

"But there was no suggestion anything like this was going to happen."

Thompson's neighbour David Hogan said: "He was kind and generous and a good neighbour. He was always friendly to my wife and I.

"We didn't see as much of him as we would have liked as he was always so busy down at the university, but he was a good man.

"We are a close community on this street and Ian's death has shocked us all. This is a tragedy."

Strathclyde Police said: "A report was sent to the procurator fiscal on December 3, 2007, in connection with alleged historical indecencies."

But yesterday the Crown Office in Edinburgh refused to say if the Thompson case was active.

A spokesman said: "We can't provide that information outwith office hours."

Thompson took up his prestigious post in 2005 after being Dean of Chapel at Selwyn College and chaplain of Selwyn and Newnham.

He graduated from Aberdeen University and was a commanding officer in the Salvation Army before being ordained in 1994.

The cleric spent five years with the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney before moving to Cambridge in 1999. One of his posts was at St Mary's Episcopal Church in Aberdeen.

His job in Cambridge involved giving readings at the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, broadcast live from King's College Chapel on Christmas Eve to millions of viewers worldwide. He was treasurer of Cambridge University Combined Boat Clubs and coach of Chesterton Rowing Club.

Cambridge police said: "There were no suspicious circumstances about his death and the matter has been passed to the coroner

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