Horndean man charged with 'serious' offences took his own life before court date, inquest told

A DAD took his own life before he was due in crown court facing serious criminal allegations, an inquest has heard.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 3:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th March 2021, 3:46 pm

Dad-of-three Paul Daraz, 48, from Horndean, was found dead at Hazelton Common Nature Reserve, in Horndean, on July 12 last year.

Mr Daraz had been due in court facing serious allegations, following his arrest in January 2018.

Police had appealed for people to help find him when he disappeared.

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Winchester Coroners Court. Picture: Jordan Pettitt/Solent News & Photo Agency

At Winchester Coroner’s Court, his death was ruled a suicide by hanging.

His former partner Sarah Pratt said the workshop manager was ‘stressed’ but did not share ‘the whole truth’.

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‘He had a lot going on with the police which I didn’t know the whole truth about,’ she said.

‘Paul told me it was getting sorted and I had nothing to worry about – but he didn’t want to talk about it.

‘He told me what I needed to know to keep me quiet but I could stressed.’

The last time anyone heard from Mr Daraz was July 7, when he sent text messages to Miss Pratt and another of his friends.

He was due at Portsmouth Crown Court the following day but did not attend. He had previously appeared before magistrates in December, 2019.

In comments at the hearing previously unpublished by The News, judge David Melville QC said: ‘I think he’s going to have to be taken into custody to protect himself as soon as possible.’

A pathology report found that he had no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of his death.

A report from Rowlands Castle Surgery said he had been taking sertraline, an antidepressant.

Following his arrest, Mr Daraz lost his job, his home and contact with his children from a former marriage, the inquest heard.

Coroner Jason Pegg said: ‘It’s quite evident that his death was unnatural.

‘Paul Daraz had been arrested in January 2018 for serious alleged offences. He struggled to come to terms with the possibility that he may be charged and face a period in jail.

‘He would not share how he had been feeling and there were parts of his life that he concealed from others.

‘The impact of these allegations and charges were demonstrated by a loss of weight – it seems to me that he was stressed about the consequences, perhaps more than he revealed.’

Mr Pegg concluded Mr Daraz died by suicide.

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