Firefighter discovered dead at home after being questioned by police is named in inquest

Father-of-two Martin Sibley was found dead at his home on Monday, an inquest has heard

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The Independent Online

The firefighter found dead after being spoken to by police investigating sex abuse allegations within a fire service has been named at an inquest.

Martin Sibley’s body was found at his home in Keymer Way, Colchester on Monday, the inquest opening in Chelmsford heard this afternoon. His death is not being treated as suspicious.

The 48-year-old father-of-two from Colchester had been interviewed by Essex police shortly before his death.  It is not known why Mr Sibley, who had worked for the fire service for more than 20 years, was interviewed.

It emerged yesterday that Essex County Fire and Rescue Service had contacted police after being made aware of sex abuse claims at fire stations in Essex, believed to date back to the 1980s.

A post-mortem examination, carried out at Colchester General Hospital, found the cause of death to be suspension.

Essex Police confirmed it had referred Mr Sibley's death to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) because the man had recently been contacted by officers.

The IPCC has referred the matter back to Essex Police after concluding it was satisfied with the force's handling of the case.

Police and the fire service have not commented on the exact nature of the inquiry but it is understood the allegations are of a sexual nature, possibly linked to initiation ceremonies.

A spokesman for the fire service said: “During an internal investigation, senior managers were made aware of allegations of potential criminal activity within the service.

”These matters were alleged to have happened some time ago but, due to their serious nature and following clear legal advice, managers referred the matter to Essex Police.

“Since then, the service has been co-operating fully with the police inquiry and has advised staff to do the same.”

Additional reporting by PA