A Great Cornard man accused of a string of sex attacks on young girls, including four rapes, has died before a trial could be held.
David Manning, of Kiln Drive, had been charged with a series of sex offences dating back more than four decades.
The 69-year-old was alleged to have carried out four rapes and seven indecent assaults on three girls under the age of 14.
Manning had appeared at North Essex Magistrates’ Court in Colchester on a number of occasions this year, but had not entered a plea to any of the charges.
He died – thought to be from natural causes – at Ipswich Hospital on March 16.
A hearing had been scheduled to take place nine days after Manning’s death but, due to his absence, the case was adjourned.
Earlier this month, a hearing was held before Colchester magistrates and the charges were formally withdrawn by the Crown Prosecution Service.
“On Tuesday, April 1, a copy of the death certificate for David Manning was given to Colchester Magistrates’ Court and the case was formally withdrawn,” said a spokeswoman for the service.
Manning had been charged with three counts of rape and two indecent assaults on one girl, two indecent assaults on a second, and rape and three indecent assaults on a third.
The offences were all alleged to have taken place in Colchester during a 10-year period from 1972.