A man found dead after taking his own life was being investigated by police over alleged historic sex offences, it has emerged. The body of Christopher Roy Kippax, 36, was discovered on land near a farm in Tameside on July 23 last year.
It followed a search by his family and police after he was reported missing the previous evening. A post-mortem revealed Mr Kippax died due to the ‘combined toxic effects’ of three different drugs, combined with alcohol, an inquest into his death he heard.
The coronial hearing, which concluded last week, was told that at the time of his death, Mr Kippax, was ‘under investigation’ by police. His family of him said it was ‘clear’ the investigation was ‘affecting him’.
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No details about the investigation were given during the hearing before coroner Alison Mutch at South Manchester Coroners’ Court.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have since confirmed in a statement to the Manchester Evening News officers were investigating Mr Kippax in relation to alleged ‘non-recent sexual offences’. He had been interviewed and released under investigation, the force added.
Mr Kippax’s wife told the inquest the allegations – which weren’t explored in detail at the hearing – were ‘all lies’. She said his death of him had come as a huge shock as he had not spoken of low mood or having any intention to harm himself.
The inquest heard Mr Kippax had reported suffering from low mood to his doctor several years earlier and had been prescribed anti-depressants in 2019. He was also waiting to hear back regarding a self-referral to mental health support service Healthy Minds, his GP said .
After accompanying his wife out, local authority officer Mr Kippax left the family home in Reddish, Stockport, just after 9am on July 22. He told his wife Gemma he was going to the office ‘to sort out some things with his supervisor’, the inquest heard. Giving evidence, Mrs Kippax said her husband seemed his ‘usual self’.
She said text messages from him stopped and he didn’t return home in the evening – something she said was ‘totally out of character’. Mrs Kippax said she contacted her supervisor, who informed her he had not been in the office that day.
She and other family members began searching for Mr Kippax and spotted his car in Denton. Inside, he had left his wedding ring and note for his wife from him.
He was reported missing before he was categorized as being ‘high risk’. Officers were dispatched to search for him within 15 minutes.
CCTV showed him walking alone on Ross Lave Lane in Denton around 9.30am. Mr Kippax’s phone, which the inquest heard was found to have been switched off at 6.17pm on the evening of July 22, was triangulated to an area near Reddish Vale Country Park. Drones and the police helicopter were used to search. Attempts to find him the next day were unsuccessful.
Mr Kippax’s body was eventually discovered the following day by three children, who spotted him in a clearing in woods adjacent to Hyde Hall Farm in Denton. Emergency services attended and Mr Kippax was declared dead at the scene.
Detective Inspector Matthew Berry, who led the investigation, said the area he was found, off Ross Lave Lane, was ‘very rural’, was ‘not a well-trodden path’ and that someone would have to know the area well to find the clearing.
Mr Kippax’s father said it was close to where his son was brought up and where he played as a child. DI Berry said several blister packs of medication and a bottle of whiskey were found nearby and that there were no signs or of a struggle ‘or anything suspicious in that regard’.
Detective Sergeant Karen Wileman, who was leading the investigation into Mr Kippax, said he was interviewed in April 2021 and that an exit risk assessment was carried out before he was released. No concerns were raised, she said.
She said she gave him an update on the investigation over the phone in July and that no concerns over his mental health were raised. Mrs Kippax told the coroner: “We knew full well about everything, and we were just dealing with it as a family. He was angry as it was all lies.”
Mr Kippax’s father Andrew said he had spoken to his son the night before he went missing when he called at his house to drop something off. “He was concerned how things had dragged on,” he said.
“And that things weren’t resolving themselves as quickly as he hoped. It was clear it was affecting him.” He said his son of him had a ‘sense of duty and of what was right and wrong’, adding his parents of him were ‘incredibly proud of him’.
DS Wileman said the investigation was ‘ongoing’ at the time of Mr Kippax’s death. Police weren’t in a position to pass a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the inquest heard.
Sharon Bullough, from GMP’s Professional Standards Branch, said an investigation by her department was launched because of the previous contact police had with Mr Kippax.
He was seen by healthcare professionals after being interviewed in April 2021, she said. He was ‘signposted to support that people detained for these kinds of offenses might need’, the hearing was told.
She added ‘GMP policy was followed’ following the filing of the missing report. Coroner Ms Mutch said she believed, on the balance of probabilities, Mr Kippax deliberately took his own life from him. She recorded a conclusion of suicide.
She told his family: “You gave a very clear picture of someone who was much-loved by his family, very much admired by his family, and very much missed by his family. “It’s always difficult when a young person dies in such circumstances as this.
“What has come over from his family, is that although they were aware he had things on his mind, and they were concerning him, they were very clear that they had no idea he was planning the things he was planning.
“If any of his family had suspected that’s what he was considering I have no doubt they would have taken steps to support him and to keep him safe.” “I am just so sorry he didn’t take that help I know you would have given him” she added.
She said his death could have occurred on the evening of July 22, but said on the balance of probabilities she could not conclude this and officially recorded his date of death as July 23.
She added: “I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities he intended to take his own life and as such, the law allows me no other option than to record a conclusion of suicide.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.