Richard West – ​AN inquest has been opened into the death of a former RAF officer who has died just six months after being jailed for historic sex offences.

Richard West, previously of Armstrong Rise, Charlton, was sentenced to five and a half years in prison in June after being found guilty of six counts of historic indecent assault.

The inquest into the 74-year-old’s death, which happened in the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester, last month was opened on December 19 and has been adjourned until the hearing in Winchester Coroner’ s Court on June 12, at 10am.

West originally faced 11 charges of historic sexual offences during the 1970s concerning two young girls.

Following a trial in November 2015 a majority guilty verdict was passed in relation to the charges concerning one victim but the jury failed to return a verdict on the five charges relating to the second victim.

It then took seven months for him to be sentenced due to his failing health.

West had to remain in his wheelchair as he appeared before Judge Andrew Barnett in Salisbury Crown Cour t to face sentence.

Mr Cotter, defending West, told the court how the former serviceman’s health problems should be taken into consideration when deciding on the length of his sentence, arguing that West was housebound, could walk no further than 10 feet, and was “effectively at the tail end of his life”.

Sentencing him to more than five years in prison, Judge Barnett remarked upon the “devastating effect” that West’s actions had had on his victims and told him that the “awful damage” he had done could not be ignored.


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