Scout leader accused of historic sexual abuse took his own life, an inquest hears
A Scout leader who was accused by two women of sexually assaulting them when they were teenagers took his own life, an inquest has confirmed.
Phillip Perks’ (pictured) body was discovered in a storage unit at the Penarth and District Scouts (PADSAC) hut on March 14 2022, a day after he was bailed by South Wales Police.
The 55-year-old from Dinas Powys, known locally as Pinky, led Les Pugh’s Own Explorer Scout Unit in Penarth, just south of Cardiff, for two decades.
He was arrested and questioned by police over the historic abuse allegations shortly after his alleged victims made reports in the same month.
The two alleged victims – now in their 30s – said the abuse happened when they were both aged 16 and were members of the Scouts.
Following Perks’ death, the women accused the Scouts of trying to “silence” them and raised concerns about the organisation’s safeguarding procedures.
They have since launched a civil claim against the Scouts.
At South Wales Central Coroner’s Court on Thursday, area coroner Patricia Morgan concluded Perks’ medical cause of death was hanging and that he had died by suicide.
During the hearing, the court heard Perks had been arrested at his home on the evening of Saturday March 12.
After being questioned he was returned home in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Several hours later, at around 9.30am, Perks left his address after speaking briefly to his wife and daughter.
In a statement read to the court, Perks’ wife said prior to leaving the house, her husband had apologised to her, but that he gave no indication that he intended to harm himself.
Perks visited a fellow Scout leader’s house to return equipment, documents and keys to him, telling him he was taking time away from scouting due to complaints made against him.
He then headed to the scouts hut where he was later found after his family made a missing person report to police.
A toxicology report found he had no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of his death.
PC Ian Bell, of South Wales Police, attended the scene with a colleague and said that no mobile phone or letter was recovered.
His GP, Dr Vicky Lord, from the Dinas Powys Medical Centre, said Perks had no significant medical history and had no history of mental health problems.
Family members including his sister, Julie Anne Perks, expressed “shock” that he harmed himself.
Ms Perks described her brother as a committed member of the Scouts and someone who loved the outdoors and woodworking.
Less than two years before his death in 2020, Perks had received Scouting’s highest award.
His alleged victims claim that before going to police they reported the abuse twice before to leaders within the Scouts, once in the mid-2000s and then in 2016.
Perks was kept on as a leader by Scouts Cymru until his suspension from the organisation days before his death.
A Scouts commissioner was suspended from his position and is the subject of an internal investigation for a “failure to report an incident within the given timescales”, according to an email sent to volunteers of Cardiff and Vale Scouts.
The Scouts have previously said its “number one priority” was the safety of young people in its care, with everyone working to a “strict code of practice”.
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