Horror as Curling champ torches himself in car

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A TOP Scots curling champion torched his car in a horrific suicide today (thurs) just moments after phoning his family.

Paraplegic Frank Duffy, who skipped Scotland to Olympic bronze, silver and gold in a medal laden career, was discovered in the burned out vehicle in a desolate car park near his home in Falkland, Fife.

According to locals, anguished relatives could say nothing to stop him going through with his gruesome act after he called to say he “couldn’t take it” any more.

It later emerged he was facing charges at Cupar Sheriff Court.

They were said have been comforted by family liaison officers from Fife Constabulary while his remains were being formally identified.

His specially adapted car was found at the Village Hall car park around 12.20am.

Police confirmed they were not treating his death as suspicious.

Villagers said they were devastated after learning their sporting hero had died in such a terrible way.

Angus Thomson, President of the Falkland Curling Club said: “I really don’t know what to say.

“I’m desperately, desperately upset.

“I’m sorry, I can’t talk just now, I am just in shock.”

Jim Bruce also a member of the club said: “He was a very nice man.”

Another local, who wouldn’t give her name, said: “He was in a wheelchair and captained the curling team at the Olympics.

“I just can’t believe it.”

His love for the sport started when he was aged just 12 on a frozen pond in his native Falkland.

It also helped give him focus after he suffered an industrial accident aged 35.

He helped Scotland achieve bronze in his first World Championships back in 2002 in Switzerland and then won silver in the Bonspiel a year later in Scotland.

He led Scotland to gold in 2004 in Switzerland and retained the crown at Braehead in 2005 which was described as his crowning glory.

In January the same year being awarded the prestigious International Paralympic Committee Award for Athlete of the Month.

Duffy, 51, was finally skip of the silver medal winning British team at the 2006 Winter Olympics at Turin in Italy before retiring from competitive curling.

He turned his attention to helping develop the sport and earlier this year, was co-opted as a director onto the board of the sports national body in the UK, British Curling.

No-one from his family was immediately willing to comment on their loss, or what may have driven him to suicide.

But one local said: “We think he called them just before to say he couldn’t take it anymore. There was also talk of a note.”

Fife Police confirmed they were not treating the death as suspicious.

A spokesman said: “A car was found at around 00:20 in the Village Hall car park in Falkland.

“One person was found deceased and is believed to be a male in his 30s or 40s.

“The car was burnt out completely.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious.”

It emerged Mr Duffy was facing court charges on allegations over claimed offences involving children.

A Crown Office spokesperson: “We can confirm that the Procurator Fiscal in Cupar received a report relating to a 51-year-old male in connection with a number of incidents alleged to have occurred between January 2000 and November 2010.

“The report remains under the consideration of the Procurator Fiscal.”

Mr Duffy previously won £300,000 from bosses at Fife Council in an out of court settlement after he was left paralysed by a rare mental disorder after a fall at work in 1995.

He had been paralysed for 10 years when he was awarded compensation in 2006.

Mr Duffy had taken the council to court for £700,000 after he fell four feet from a ladder while putting up a sign for the council’s Ranger Service but did not receive the full amount.

Doctors could not find any physical reason for Mr Duffy’s paralysis and concluded that he was wheelchair bound due to an extremely rare psychological condition called hysterical conversion disorder.

An average of two HCD cases are recorded in Scotland every year.

The disorder happens unconsciously and tends to strike people who have suffered from emotional stress.

Victims can suffer paralysis, blindness or loss of the power of speech.

Six months before the accident, the father-of-three, separated from his wife of 13 years, Margaret.

He later remarried and settled in Falkland with his second wife Carolanne and her three children.

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