January 2011

Former football boss killed himself after sex conviction

THE former head of Hampshire FA threw himself from the top of an 11-storey car park just days after being found guilty of historic sex crimes against children.

The inquest at Southampton Coroners Court heard that Ray Barnes, 74, had killed himself by jumping off the upper level of the NCP car park in Western Esplanade in the city centre.

The former magistrate, special constable and stalwart of grassroots football had his reputation left in tatters after he was convicted of five counts of indecently assaulting three boys between 1964 and 1983.

He was due to be sentenced today.

After the criminal court case officers went to see Mr Barnes and found they were unable to make contact and his family later put in a missing person appeal when he failed to return from the shops.

Officers found CCTV of him at a store where he had gone to buy papers but the next time they saw him he was dead.

DS James McMann, of Bitterne CID, said the force had viewed Southampton City Council and West Quay footage which showed a man in a flat cap with a carrier bag walk past John Lewis and the car park.

The images show Mr Barnes go off the upper level and officers discovered a bag with half a bottle of brandy in it.

Coroner Keith Wiseman yesterday said the result of the court case had put “an enormous strain” on the married father-of-four.

He added a private letter Mr Barnes left to his family showing what he intended to do led him to record a verdict of suicide.

Mr Barnes, of Grately Close, Weston, died on December 13 last year of multiple injuries.

He had been found guilty of indecently assaulted children, one as young as 11, in his car, his home or a flat in Southampton.

Jurors at Bournemouth Crown Court heard he had discussed art with an 11-year-old before asking him to strip naked so he could draw him. The child was then indecently assaulted.

Later he befriended a 14-year-old and accompanied him to football matches.

While staying at Mr Barnes home he woke up to find he was being indecently assaulted.

The third victim was 16 and the incident happened as they drove back to Southampton along the M3.

He allowed the youth to take the steering wheel and then assaulted him.

Mr Barnes was given bail and put on the sex offenders’ register.