Mother hopes son convicted of child sex abuse after suicide will be cleared


The mother of a former boarding school worker convicted of child sex abuse following his suicide in a landmark case hopes a hearing today will lead to him being cleared.

Darren Turk, 54, hanged himself while he was on trial accused of offences against boys aged between 11 and 15 at Frewen College in Northiam, East Sussex, between 1996 and 2002.

After his death, a jury at Lewes Crown Court found him guilty of 10 child sex-related offences and not guilty on six counts in what is believed to be the first time a dead man has been convicted of a crime in England.

Turk's family have criticised the decision of the trial judge to allow jurors to return verdicts after he had died.

A defence bid to challenge the conviction will be heard by three judges sitting in the Court of Appeal's criminal division in London.

Turk's mother Jasmine Botting, 76, from Etchingham, near Hastings, said the trial judge should never have allowed jurors to return their verdicts following his death.

She said: "I know for a fact that my son is innocent. All I would like to think is that this hearing will go some way towards clearing his name."

At an inquest in January, a coroner heard Turk had been prescribed anti-depressants and left suicide notes before his body was found by his stepfather at home in Fontridge Lane, Etchingham, on June 16 last year.

Unmarried Turk was a member of care staff and later head of care at the boarding school, but was not a teacher. At the time of his death, he worked as an electrician's assistant.

A post-mortem examination at the Conquest Hospital in St Leonards-on-Sea confirmed his cause of death was by hanging. A coroner concluded he had taken his own life.

Relatives of pupils Turk was accused of committing offences against are expected to attend the hearing.