A FORMER headmaster who drowned himself in the Thames after being convicted of historic sex offences had already attempted suicide once before that same month, an inquest heard yesterday.

David Tuohy, 83, who was found dead in the Thames in Oxford on March 24 six days before he was due to be sentenced for his crimes, had only just been released from hospital after he was found unconscious in a field, after slittng his wrists and taking an overdose on March 10.

A close friend who attended yesterday's hearing at Oxford Coroner's Court said even Tuohy himself was suprised that he had been released on bail after his conviction at Norwich Crown Court on February 11.

The man said: "We have all asked the question, it seems even he was amazed at being allowed out without being restrained and it makes no sense to me that he was."

Tuohy, of White House Road, Oxford, was found guilty of 15 sexual offences against boys as young as 10 in the 1970s while he was headmaster at New Eccles Hall School in Norfolk.

But yesterday his friend told the Oxford Mail: "He was a good man and he had a great heart.

"His family just want him to rest in peace now."

Tuohy, who was not married, had told his GP at South Oxford Health Centre that he had been having suicidal thoughts during and after his trial, it emerged yesterday.