Girlfriend of tragic police chief attacks limited scope of inquest
The girlfriend of a senior police officer who killed himself while under investigation over misconduct allegations criticised the coroner yesterday and said it was a “shame” he had limited the scope of his inquest.
Jo Howse said Wiltshire and Swindon coroner David Ridley should have considered the effect of the internal police inquiry on David Ainsworth.
“I think that David’s state of mind really was as a result of the way he was investigated,” Ms Howse, a charity worker, said.
“That made it very difficult for him to have any faith in the welfare arrangements that were made for him.
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“So I think it is a shame that the whole thing could not be considered in the coroner’s inquest because I don’t think it accurately reflects what happened to David.
“This inquest did not allow issues that I believe to be pertinent to David’s welfare and state of mind to come out.
“It seemed apparent that the coroner had a set view on how he would limit the scope of his inquiry.
“It seems clear to me and David’s family that a care regime should apply to all officers in a police force and from my point of view it was evident that chief constable Brian Moore and the chief executive of the Wiltshire Police Authority held each other responsible for the lack of a coherent approach to David’s welfare arrangements.”
Ms Howse, who lives in Westbury, Wiltshire, said she made a formal complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission about Mr Ainsworth’s death.
“The issues the coroner precluded are amongst a number of complaints made by me to the IPCC against members of Wiltshire Police Authority, Wiltshire Police and members of Wiltshire Police staff and it would be inappropriate for me to make any comments about that at this stage,” she said.
Ms Howse said that she had not seen a copy of a report compiled by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary – mentioned in the inquest – despite several requests.
She said that the number of people who made complaints against Mr Ainsworth was “far below” those publicly reported.
“I am unable to comment on the efficacy of any of the complaints as, although a form of concluding report to the investigation was produced by South Wales Police in July 2011, this has yet to be made available to me."
Ms Howse, who was supported by Mr Ainsworth’s father Stanley and brother Paul, during the inquest, added: “David was a kind and caring man who always wanted to help people and I loved him very much. He was loved dearly by his family and friends.”