AN alleged paedophile who a court heard had faked his own death to avoid detection told a jury he had twice tried to kill himself weeks earlier.
Leslie Andrews, 54, went missing for eight years, days after police contacted him to tell him a complaint had been levelled at him.
The former cafe owner wanted people to believe he had drowned in the sea at Blackpool after he parked his car with the note inside and disappeared in May 2002.
Andrews was not traced until last year when he was arrested in Wakefield.
He had assumed a new identity and had avoided visiting a doctor or dentist and using his National Insurance, the court heard.
Giving evidence at Preston Crown Court, Andrews said there was not one reason why he left Blackpool but denied it was the sexual allegations.
In May 2002, he had tried to take his own life on the same day on two separate occasions near to the Pontin’s holiday camp, he said.
These involved trying to gas himself in his car, and trying to drown himself.
He told the jury they were genuine attempts but he had changed his mind.
Paul Cummings, prosecuting, said: “I suggest this is a fabrication and part of a deception to evade arrest.”
Andrews said the first he knew of the allegations were when two police officers knocked on the door of his former flat in St Heliers Road, Blackpool.
The defendant said the nature of the complaint was not mentioned but he thought the worst and thought it might be a sexual matter.
He agreed he may have in the past discussed with his former wife about faking his own death to solve his mounting debt problems.
Andrews told the court he owed money “here, there and everywhere” which added up to around £15,000.
Andrews said: “I just wanted a new life.”
He denies 15 counts of indecent assault between May 1997 and May 2002.