Keith Richards' ex son-in-law took own life after social media abuse
False sex-pest claims led Rolling Stone Keith Richards’ ex son-in-law to walk in front of a train, inquest hears
- Dominic Jennings married Angela Richards in a lavish GBP250k ceremony in 1998
- They were married for 15 years however Mr Jennings suffered addiction issues
- He also suffered mental health issues following his break up from Ms Richards
- An inquest ruled Mr Jennings took his own life on July 21, his inquest ruled
Published: 01:56, 28 January 2021 | Updated: 20:54, 28 January 2021
Dominic Jennings, pictured, struggled with addiction problems and mental health issue following his divorce from Angela Richards after 15 years of marriage
Keith Richards’ heartbroken ex son-in-law took his own life in July after social media campaign against him an inquest was told.
Despite a police investigation finding nothing, Dominic Jennings, the former husband of Angela Richards, told family there was no coming back from false online allegations made against him.
Twin sister Kirsty told the inquest her brother had made mistakes but he was tortured by the social media posts.
He walked out in front of a train after phoning his father to say his life was over.
Photographs of the 45-year-old, who married Rolling Stones rocker Keith Richards’ daughter Angela in a lavish GBP250,000 wedding in 1998, were then shared on social media and went viral.
The pair were married for 15 years, with Mr Jennings suffering from addiction and mental health problems after the break up.
In one now deleted Facebook post, a Bognor Regis local claimed Mr Jennings – who once toured with the legendary band – was ‘trying to look up little girls’ skirts’ and ‘coax them away from their parents’.
Sussex coroner Alicia Keen said the online allegations were generally unsubstantiated and police decided to take no further action.
The online posts started to appear on July 21 last year and members of the public detained Mr Jennings the following day before calling police.
They arrested him for his own safety, the inquest heard.
When news of the Facebook allegations reached his landlady, she took all Mr Jennings belongings to a police station and said he was no longer welcome at her B&B.
The coroner concluded it was impossible for police to prevent the social media posts from going viral.
‘I understand the effect of that was when he spoke to his brother and father and said ‘There’s no coming back from that’,’ the coroner said.
He told family the posts were the tipping point.
Angela, pictured here with her father Keith Richards, left, married Mr Jennings in a lavish GBP250,000 ceremony in 1998
British Transport Police investigator Kristina Butler told the inquest Mr Jennings had been staying in a B&B in Bognor after returning from living in France for many years and he had struggled with alcohol and mental health issues since his break up from Angela.
She said Mr Jennings phoned his father Cyril hours before his death.
‘He was very upset about allegations made against him on social media,’ she said.
‘He said there was no way forward and was phoning to say goodbye.
‘Both his father and sister said it had been deeply distressing for him and this was the tipping point.’
He had been arrested and released following allegations he tried to steal a dog and then exposed himself on Bognor beach.
Kirsty Jenning’s tribute to her twin brother
In a tearful statement, twin sister Kirsty Jennings said her brother was loyal, loving, generous and fun, easily led and popular.
‘He was the underdog and always looked out for those in need.
‘As a son and brother he was hard working, loving kind and caring.
‘As an uncle he was a positive influence on his nieces and nephews.
‘As my twin, he was compassionate and thoughtful.
‘He took risks and never took life seriously.
‘He made me laugh and cry and really cared about me.
‘He always looked out for me and my four children.
‘He became lost and turned to alcohol.
‘He didn’t want to die, he just didn’t want to live that life.
‘He was tortured by the social media.
‘It has destroyed our family and friends for ever.
‘He had half of my heart and he has taken it with him.’
Members of the public recognised him from the Facebook posts and detained him.
He was released soon after with a No Further Action notice from police.
Two Police Community Support Officers drove him to an address in Chichester where he said he could stay with a friend after emergency accommodation could not be found.
His friend also told him he could not stay.
He found the NFA letter with a note saying Tell everyone I’m innocent the next day.
A massive police search on the ground and with a helicopter followed a phone call to his brother in the early hours of July 22 when Mr Jennings said he was planning to take his own life.
A roofer on his way to work saw a man climb the fence near a railway bridge between Chichester and Bognor and phoned police just before 7am.
Minutes later, Mr Jennings stepped out of the tunnel in front of a train.
Coroner Alicia Keen said there were only seconds between him walking onto the track and being hit by the train.
The Coroner said: ‘Members of the public had detained him purely on the basis of social media posts which hadn’t been investigated at the time.
‘They were generally unsubstantiated.
‘He had a conversation with a couple of young people but there was very little else and police felt they were unable to charge him.’
‘At that time he was trying very hard to take control of his life and he had not had a drink for three or four weeks.’
Mr Jennings was found to have three times the drink drive limit of alcohol.
‘When he rang his father to say goodbye, it was clear he had become more and more distressed and more intoxicated as he chose to make that decision,’ the coroner said.
The social media posts which have now been removed accused Mr Jennings of trying to look up young girls skirts.
His friend of 25 years Robin Clapton said he believed it would have been a ‘misunderstanding’ and his friend had been ‘goaded’ into an argument.
He said: ‘People are vile, on some self appointed moral crusade.
‘He hadn’t had a haircut for a long time because of lockdown and was starting to look a bit dishevelled.’
Mr Clapton added: ‘He never, ever, ever displayed any inclination towards young children.
‘If he had a problem, he would speak to one of us about it.
He didn’t have those kinds of problems.
‘Dom was a very popular guy.
He had had a great life hanging out and touring with the Stones.’
Angela Richards said her ex struggled with drink and drug problems after their divorce.
Ms Richards wrote: ‘I wasn’t going to comment but unfortunately he has been on a downward slope for the last 15 years.
‘I know his family have desperately tried to help but he hasn’t accepted it.
‘It’s a shame it has come to this all over social media but he is not the man you all once knew.’
The inquest at the coroner’s court in Crawley recorded a conclusion of suicide.
- For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116123 or go to the website www.samaritans.org
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