Catholic Priest Commits Suicide To Escape Police Probe

A Catholic priest in Newcastle, Canon Michael McCoy, has been reported dead.

The 57-year-old clergyman reportedly killed himself after an old crime was mentioned to him.

Policemen were said to have visited the cleric in his apartment to confront him about a historic allegation made against his person.

Naija News learnt from the report that a case was made a week earlier to McCoy’s death, and he could not bear the consequences.

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The cleric had been reported to Northumbria Police. Subsequently, the police visited McCoy who was Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle.

The police on April 6 told the cleric that a historic allegation had been made against him and that he would be invited often for a voluntary interview at some stage.

Detective Sergeant Julie Beattie, of Northumbria Police’s child and adult protection department, said Mr McCoy was ‘upset’ but said he would seek his own support from friends and colleagues.

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The inquest at Newcastle Coroner’s Court had Mr McCoy voluntarily withdraw from his ministry in the cathedral and moved into an Airbnb.

Giving an insight into the incident, a safeguarding coordinator for the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, Angela Richardson, said she spoke to McCoy after his visit from the police.

She told the inquest: “He was visibly shaken, he was upset, he was shocked following the visit from the police and the allegations that had been made.”

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Ms Richardson said she told Mr McCoy the diocese would look at alternative accommodation for him as ‘normally in these circumstances, it’s inappropriate for the priest to remain in that setting’.

Having assured him of alternatives, she said Mr McCoy contacted her on April 8 to say he ‘couldn’t stay in the cathedral any longer’.

He felt everybody knew and it was an impossible position,” Ms Richardson said.

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She added: “He was in the cathedral but wasn’t able to be involved in ministry – he found this upsetting and didn’t feel he could stay.”

The inquest heard Mr McCoy found his own Airbnb but wasn’t happy there and was looking for alternative accommodation before he died.

Ms Richardson said: “I suggested he could either return to the cathedral in the interim or if he was really unhappy, the diocese could fund hotel accommodation.

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‘He said he would stay there that evening. He felt he wanted to source his own accommodation, he wanted to have some control over where he lived.”

The inquest heard that on April 10 a man attended Mr McCoy’s apartment as part of the provision of support for him and became concerned when he did not get an answer.

The concierge service helped him gain access to the apartment, where Mr McCoy was found dead, Naija News learnt.

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The cleric reportedly did not leave any note before committing suicide. He is also said to have returned to factory settings on his mobile phone and tablet before killing himself.

Ms Richardson said concerns had been raised about Mr McCoy in 2007 and 2010 but the nature of this was not revealed.

According to her, Medical records showed he had an anxiety disorder but no history of suicidal thoughts or self-harm.

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This article was originally published on Nigeria News

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