A CORONER has expressed concern about the handling of a police internal investigation which led to a South Yorkshire officer killing himself.
Nicola Mundy, Doncaster and Rotherham coroner, concluded the inquest into PC Carl Spooner’s death by saying she would be writing to both Temporary Chief Constable Bob Dyson of South Yorkshire Police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission with her concerns.
Doncaster-based PC Spooner, aged 37, who received a bravery award for disarming a knifeman in 2007, was told he was under investigation for alleged sexual harassment just before he hanged himself at his home in Bramley, Rotherham, in October 2010.
Ms Mundy said the news the force’s professional standards department would be investigating was the “final straw”, because he was already depressed.
PC Spooner, who had completed 11 years’ service as a policeman, was said to be looking for another job and earlier in the week had talked of suicide.
After he was found hanged, a note was discovered to his partner, Sarah Dennis, also a police officer, saying he was concerned the incident would affect him for life, because “mud sticks”.
Recording a verdict that PC Spooner killed himself, Ms Mundy said: “He was struggling with relationship difficulties with his partner. There was tension at work between him and a senior officer, but the most significant fact was the complaint and the nature of the complaint. His fear was how that would affect his work and the stigma attached to him.”
She expressed concern about the way the complaint was dealt with by the police and the lack of clarity about the allegation.