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Dead martial arts coach was a grooming suspect

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A martial arts trainer from the Black Country found dead in a car park was facing an allegation of grooming, it has emerged.

Matthew Kendall, aged 39, of Wednesfield, was discovered with a shotgun wound to his head on the ground of the rural car park near Church Stretton. It can now be revealed that Mr Kendall had been arrested on suspicion of grooming on October 8 – just three days before his death. Yesterday, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said it had launched an investigation into Mr Kendall's death.

A spokesman said: "The IPCC is investigating police contact with Matthew Kendall prior to his death on October 11.

"The independent investigation follows referrals from Greater Manchester Police and West Mercia Police."

The arrest followed an incident in Bolton.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: "On October 8, a 39-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of grooming and bailed pending further inquiries.

"The man was found deceased in the West Midlands on October 11. A mandatory referral has been made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is carrying out an independent investigation."

The Pole Cottage car park in Church Stretton, where Matthew Kendall was found dead

The spokesman added: "He was staying in Horwich. The arrest made was in connection with an offence in Bolton."

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The alleged offence has also led to an investigation by West Mercia Police into the sports club where Mr Kendall worked. The club is now closed.

A force spokesman said: "We are responding to safeguarding concerns at a sports club.

"There have been no specific disclosures of criminal offences made to West Mercia Police at this time.

"The concerns were raised as part of an investigation being led by Greater Manchester Police."

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An inquest heard how Mr Kendall was found by a visitor lying on the ground of Pole Cottage car park.

Police have said there were no suspicious circumstances about his death.

The hearing was adjourned for further investigations. It will resume at Telford Register Office, in Wellington, on January 25.

Four days after Mr Kendall's death a West Mercia Police spokesman said: "At 18.40pm on October 11, West Mercia Police were informed that the body of a man had been found at Pole Cottage car park, Church Stretton.

"Formal identification has not taken place, but the body is believed to be that of a 39-year-old man from Wolverhampton.

"His next of kin had been informed and the death is not being treated as suspicious."

West Mercia Police has asked anyone with information to contact them by calling 101.

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