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AFC Bournemouth footballer, 26, accused of rape 'hanged himself'

AFC Bournemouth footballer, 26, hanged himself at AirBnB on same day he was due in court to face charge of raping woman at 4-star hotel in London, inquest hears

  • Clive Makoni was found dead at an Airbnb where he had been staying last year 
  • Before his death he said he might plead guilty to save his family going to trial 
  • He was due to appear at court for rape and two counts of assault by penetration
  • For confidential support call Samaritans on 116 123 or visit samaritans.org 

A former AFC Bournemouth footballer hanged himself on the day he was due to face a charge of raping a woman at a four-star hotel in London, an inquest heard. 

Clive Makoni, 26, told his girlfriend of four years he simply wanted to save his family further anguish, despite maintaining he was innocent and had no memory of the alleged rape in a 4-star London hotel.

Before his death he said he might plead guilty just to spare his family the agony of a trial, an inquest heard today.  

The footballer was found dead by a cleaner at an Airbnb where he had been staying in Kings Somborne, near Winchester, Hampshire, on September 9, 2020.

An inquest at Winchester Coroners Court heard he had been due to appear at Croydon Magistrates’ Court that day charged with a rape and two counts of assault by penetration.

Clive Makoni (pictured), 26, was found dead by a cleaner at an Airbnb where he had been staying in Kings Somborne, near Winchester in Hampshire, on September 9

Prosecutors claimed he attacked a woman at the London Bridge Hotel on August 18 last year but the investigation was discontinued following his death.

His girlfriend, Bethany Young, who met Mr Makoni at university where he was studying sports management, described him as ‘very intelligent’ and that ‘everyone who knew him loved him’.

She said he had absolutely no memory of the alleged assault.

Giving evidence, she said: ‘There are many ways to describe Clive.

‘To know Clive was to love Clive. Everyone loved him, just his presence, and he had such an impact on everyone’s lives whatever you needed.

‘He was someone you would turn to for advice, or he could be the life of the party.’

She described the toll the allegations had taken on their relationship and said that Mr Makoni was on anti-anxiety medication and had trouble sleeping.

She added: ‘[A few weeks before] I spoke to the lead investigator on the case and he said he thought they had enough evidence to go to court to get a conviction so in my mind that was the point I thought I couldn’t do it any more.’

She said Mr Makoni had been upset following the break-up but understood why and the pair remained close up until his death.

An inquest at Winchester Coroners Court (pictured) heard he had been due to appear at Croydon Magistrates’ Court that day charged with a rape and two counts of assault by penetration 

On the morning he was due to appear in court, Miss Young said she called him and they spoke for around three hours.

She added: ‘[We] discussed what he was going to plead as he had no recollection, he was saying he might plead guilty so me and his mum and his sisters don’t have to go through a trial.

‘I said you can’t plead guilty if you are not – you have to go to trial to get the evidence.’

The court heard that shortly after, Clive spoke to another friend and said, ‘If I die today my life has been great’.

Makoni had spells at non-league clubs across Hampshire, including Tadley Calleva FC and Bashley FC, as well as captaining Bournemouth University’s men’s football team.

He was a frequent goalscorer for the university side, netting a hat-trick against Bournemouth Electric in April 2019.

Giving his conclusion, Coroner Jason Pegg said: ‘Clive was studying for an MBA at University and it seems to me that his relationship was blighted when he faced allegations in a criminal court.

‘Clearly that impacted their relationship and in the early part of September Clive moved out of the home he shared with Ms Young.’

He added: ‘The impact of these allegations, and they are indeed allegations, was such that it caused Clive to suffer from anxiety and have trouble sleeping.’

He said it was clear, in part because of a rope purchased days earlier, that Mr Makoni had intended to end his life and therefore recorded a verdict of suicide.

The cause of death was given as hanging.

London Bridge Hotel’s website describes it as ‘a unique four-star boutique property in the heart of the capital’.

It adds: ‘Its prime position in the Borough of Southwark next to London Bridge station, Borough Market and the Square Mile makes it appealing to city guests and business travellers alike.’

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