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Telford police officer killed himself after becoming stressed over work

Telford | News | Published:

A West Mercia Police officer who spent 25 years in the force committed suicide after becoming stressed about his job, an inquest heard.

Derek Holland, who joined the force in 1990 and worked his way up to the rank of inspector, was found at his home in Telford by his father, the inquest in Wellington was told.

The 50-year-old, who spent periods of time off work after suffering from stress and anxiety, was found dead on September 21.

His death came less than two hours before he had been due to meet with his line manager.

Speaking at his inquest, his widow, Nerys Holland, said he had been a hard working police officer and had worked in Telford for most of his career.

She said he began working on the safer neighbourhood team but his work became stressful and he spent time off sick between April and May last year, returning on reduced hours.

But she claimed his return to work was not managed correctly and he had been expected to carry out the same workload, despite working fewer hours.

He later spent a short period in a police rehabilitation centre but was then off work again, returning under a different role in October last year before taking sick leave again in December.

Mrs Holland said he went back to work in March and took up administrative duties but he experienced low moods and anxiety.

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She said he went back on sick leave in September but a short time later he received a call from his line manager requesting a meeting, which had been scheduled to take place on September 21.

But Mr Holland was discovered hanged from the loft just over an hour before the meeting was due to go ahead.

Mrs Holland, who had been at work at the time but had spoken to him on the phone just two hours beforehand, paid tribute to her husband during the hearing.

She said: "Derek was a loving and devoted husband, father and son and his family meant everything to him.

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"His death leaves a big hole in our lives."

She said he went above and beyond to try to battle his anxieties but became distressed and fearful of being dismissed.

In a statement read to the inquest, Rachel Neale, who works in the police force's HR department, said Mr Holland had attended counselling sessions and had been subject to a recuperative plan after returning to work in May last year.

Detective Sergeant Mark O'Connor, who investigated his death, said Mr Holland had been due to meet with his line manager to discuss his work and sickness at 4pm, but had been found earlier that afternoon by his father, who was visiting the address.

He told the inquest there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

John Ellery, coroner for Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, concluded that Mr Holland had committed suicide, adding: "It is clear Derek was suffering stress and anxiety in relation to work related issues."

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