Farm worker took his own life after stand-off with police, inquest concludes

By Lisa O'Brien | Craven Arms | News | Published:

A father of two, who shot himself after a stand-off with police, took his own life, a jury has concluded.

Farm worker James Massey, aged 35, died in the courtyard of his home in Hungerford, near Craven Arms, south Shropshire, on December 10 last year.

A jury hearing his inquest at Shrewsbury’s Shirehall yesterday delivered a unanimous conclusion of suicide.

Coroner John Ellery said he now plans to write to the chief constable of West Mercia Police over the use of body-worn video cameras on officers’ vests that can record incidents.

They were introduced to frontline officers in Shropshire earlier this year. The inquest was told there are plans for police negotiators to use the technology from next year.

Mr Ellery said he would be writing to the chief constable for confirmation. It comes after the inquest heard that during negotiations between police and Mr Massey, no recording of the conversation was made. A review found this was down to human error.

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During the inquest, the jury heard that Mr Massey and his partner had been out for the night on December 9 but the evening had ended in an argument.


She had called police in the early hours of December 10, telling them Mr Massey had a gun and was threatening to kill himself. He had also been drinking.

Armed police arrived at about 3am and began negotiating with Mr Massey. The inquest was told that trained negotiator, detective sergeant Beth Wells, took over at about 4.30am. Despite police officers thinking they were making progress, Mr Massey shot himself over an hour later.

Summing up to the jury, Mr Ellery told them that Mr Massey’s family had some concerns about how the police had handled the situation. But he said there was no evidence that anything the police did or didn’t do had caused or contributed to Mr Massey’s death. He said: “James died despite police involvement, not because of it.”

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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