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Rugeley man found hanged hours after police visit

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: April 01, 2014

VERDICT...South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh

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THE grieving family of a man who hanged himself after being visited by police and social services has complained to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Simon Richmond, 48, was found hanged in a beauty spot off Flaxley Road, Rugeley, not far from his Coppice Road home.

An inquest at Cannock coroner’s court heard he had been visited by police officers and social workers at 1am on the morning he died. He was then seen by his mother and stepfather at 1.50am. They saw him going back into his house having gone to his car boot, the inquest heard.

At 7.50am a dog walker found Mr Richmond’s body hanging from a tree in woodland.

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DC Richard Williams said a rope similar to the one used for the ligature had been found in Mr Richmond’s car boot.

“Mr Richmond had been made aware by police officers that there had been an allegation made against him,” he said. “As a result of that allegation it’s believed he committed suicide. There are no other reasons known at all.”

His stepfather James Clarke asked the court if the allegations were being investigated.

He said: “His mother and I were the last ones to see him. He said goodbye to us and walked back into the house.

“Something happened that night for Simon to decide that was it and we would like to find out why and how and what.

“It just seems that this is being pushed to one side and we would all like to know why he was visited at that time in the morning.”

Coroner Andrew Haigh gave the cause of death as hanging and said Mr Richmond had committed suicide. He said Mr Richmond had not left a suicide note.

“He was visited by police officers in connection with allegations made against him and was seen afterwards by his mother and stepfather,” he said.

“They had no particular concerns about him. It’s apparent he walked to a wooded area near his home and hanged himself from a tree. In the overall circumstances I’m satisfied he intended to kill himself and this is what he did.”

After the hearing Mr Clarke, 74, of Durham Drive, Rugeley, said: “He wasn’t even told what the offence was. We haven’t been told, or who made the allegation. We have made a complaint to the police and social services and the IPCC.”

A spokesman for the IPCC said a mandatory referral had been made from Staffordshire Police and had been returned to the force for local investigation.

A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: "Given the earlier police contact with Mr Richmond prior to his death Staffordshire Police automatically referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

"The IPCC deemed it to be appropriate for the force to carry out an investigation. A complaint was also received from Mr Richmond’s family and the investigation by the force’s performance assessment unit is ongoing. Officers are working closely with the county council who have also received a complaint."

Mike Lawrence, Staffordshire County Council cabinet member for children, communities and localism, said: “We sympathise with Mr Richmond’s family at this difficult time.

“A complaint has been received and we are currently reviewing the sequence of events on the night in question to see whether proper procedures were followed.

“Once the review is complete, we will inform the complainant.”

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