A reptile business owner was found dead days after he had appeared in court charged with serious criminal offences.

The body of Karl Woodard, 46, was discovered in a caravan at the rear of AK Reptiles and Aquatics in Watton on November 11 last year. 

An inquest heard he had appeared in court accused of criminal offences on November 8 and had been granted bail despite concerns over his mental state of mind.

In a statement read at Norfolk Coroner's Court, Detective Sergeant Dave Peat said while in police custody he had talked about suicide and told officers that he felt he had “nothing to live for”.

He said the father-of-five had been arrested on November 7 for “several serious offences” but had also been facing other allegations.

After concerns for his welfare were raised by his former partner, police had repeatedly attempted to contact him but had received no response, he added.

His ex-girlfriend, with whom he had split after five years, told the inquest that the criminal allegations had come on top of the failure of his business, which closed in September 2023, and had placed him under “a lot of stress”.

“He would say he had lost everything,” she added. 

She told the court it had “always been his dream” to open a business selling reptiles, snakes, aquatic equipment, fish and coral.

Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk, oversaw the inquest into the death of Karl WoodardJacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk, oversaw the inquest into the death of Karl Woodard (Image: Newsquest)

In a statement, she said contacted police after being unable to get in touch with him after seeing him on CCTV enter the premises at the New Green Business Park but not leave.

Police found his body in a caravan behind the business address that had been locked from the inside.

The inquest was told his cause of death had been established as asphyxiation.

Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk, recorded a verdict of suicide.

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