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English jury finds former Somerset captain Peter Roebuck died of suicide in South Africa

The famous cricket writer, Peter Roebuck, was “totally in despair” before jumping from the hotel window after being interrogated about alleged sexual assault, an English inquest held almost 13 years after his demise was told. Roebuck, 55, went to Cape Town to commentate on a match between Australia and South Africa in November 2011. He died after falling from the sixth floor of the Southern Sun hotel.

The inquest jury at Cheshire Coroner’s Court in northwest England came to a conclusion on Friday, February 9, that Roebuck had committed suicide. Roebuck captained the English county – Somerset during his playing days. The coroner’s court heard Roebuck, a columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald, was alleged to have sexually assaulted a 26-year-old man in his hotel room on November 8 when they arranged to meet to discuss whether the commentator could financially help the student through university.

A complaint was filed on November 12 and that evening, officers went to Roebuck’s hotel to arrest him. Detective Aubrey McDonald, who was the arresting officer, said that he had stepped outside the hotel room to make a phone call. It was during that moment that he heard his colleague, Lieutenant Cecil Jacobs, yelling at Roebuck.

“Seconds later I heard a sound which I now know was Peter Roebuck falling to the first-floor balcony,” McDonald was quoted as saying by News18.

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He was horrified that such false allegations could be laid against him and unable to prove his innocence: Roebuck’s sister

Notably, Peter Roebuck received a suspended prison sentence in England in 2001 for common assault after caning three teenage South African cricketers, who had stayed with him in 1999. Roebuck’s sister, Dr Margaret Frostick, told the Cheshire court that he had pleaded guilty just so he could go and carry on with his job.

“He was horrified that such false allegations could be laid against him and that he was unable to persist in getting to prove his innocence,” Frostick said.

The same cause of death was recorded in an earlier inquest conducted in South Africa but no one from Roebuck’s family had been in attendance. However, on Friday, Frostick and two other relatives were present.

“I’m sorry the case has taken such a long time for us to progress, but it was in part waiting to find out about a renewed hearing in South Africa which hasn’t come to pass,” senior coroner for Cheshire, Jacqueline Devonish said.

The Oddington-born played 335 first-class matches and scored 17,558 runs at an average of 37.27. He also bagged 72 wickets with the ball. Meanwhile, in List A cricket, Roebuck played 298 games, scoring 7,244 runs and picking up 51 wickets.

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