AN RAF reservist being investigated by police over serious sexual allegations shot himself after attending a live firing exercise an inquest has been told.

There had been concerns Cpl Jack Lyons, 53, was a risk to himself and others, but coroner Michael Oakley was told officers involved in the exercise at RAF Leeming , near Bedale, in September 2015 did not believe they were properly informed.

Colleague SGT Jonathan Tointon also told the hearing he made a “fatal error” by sending Cpl Lyons back for his gun as he took him to meet police who had been sent to arrest him.

He said he had not been told he should not reveal the police had come for the reservist and was concerned the weapon had been left unguarded.

Police Scotland contacted RAF special investigations officers for help in arresting Cpl Lyons after he had not informed them of a change in address. He was required to do so by a risk of sexual harm order, made against him as part of the investigation.

They revealed that Cpl Lyons had travelled from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland with other reservists for a summer camp being held at RAF Leeming.

Mr Oakley was told a medical officer had examined Cpl Lyons in March, after his family had raised concerns that he was suicidal, and it was recommended it was safe for him to use weapons and live ammunition.

Flt Lt Christopher Beckley said when he was contacted he believed the concerns had not changed since March.

He added: “At no stage where we aware of orders that police Scotland had in relation to his residence or in relation to the nature of the offences against Cpl Lyons, until his death. I would have hoped to have made decisions on a more informed basis.”

The hearing was told the reservists were staying in tents in hangars on the base and had access to their guns, ammunition was distributed on the firing ranges with any unused handed in.

Training Officer Flt Lt Martin Clark said the system depended on “integrity and honesty” with personnel patted down and guns checked.

“They make a declaration vocally that they have no ammunition. You could keep ammunition if you wanted too. That is still the case - I don’t think it is satisfactory,” he added.

Sgt Tointon said he had helped search Cpl Lyons' kit after he shot himself in his tent and no other ammunition was found He said it was possible he had taken the shell during other exercises.

He added: “A single round of ammunition is so small you could pocket it, there wouldn’t be the time to search to find every round of ammunition.”

Mr Oakley recorded a verdict of suicide.