Police chief tragically killed himself over ‘paranoia’ during coronavirus quarantine – Latest News


The ex-Devon and Cornwall Police chief’s widow Maureen told the inquest in Truro, Cornwall, he became “paranoid and neurotic” over his eight-day quarantine where he kept in touch via Zoom calls.

Retired Assistant Chief Constable James Connelly-Webster, 58, had been keeping socially-distanced from his wife and two children when his body was found in their garden chalet on April 1.

Retired Assistant Chief Constable James Connelly-Webster took his own life after becoming “paranoid” after displaying coronavirus symptoms and self-isolating from his family, an inquest heard

Retired Assistant Chief Constable James Connelly-Webster

James Connelly-Webster, 58, and his wife Maureen

Crackington Haven beach in North Cornwall

He left a six-page note found at his bedside revealing how much he struggled in the last days of his life in Crackington Haven, Cornwall.

A former top police chief who became “paranoid” about coronavirus took his own life after getting a fever, an inquest heard.

She said they had agreed to do it if either developed Covid-19 symptoms but he “changed completely” during his isolation, Plymouth Live reports.

“He had spoken so much over the years, given his experiences as a copper, about the devastation left behind when someone commits suicide.

She said: “I believe that Jimbo, in his right mind, would not take his own life.

Maureen found a sign pinned to the chalet door saying “don’t come in, phone the police” before paramedics declared him dead at the scene that morning.

“It’s just unthinkable that this would be his intention – however, there is no denying the fact.

After retiring in 2011 Mr Connelly-Webster joined the board of the NHS and worked with the Foreign Office around the world and had recently returned home from London.

“I think it was a perfect storm. The psychological effect of the Covid-19 environment – media, fear, lack of control – as he went into his self-isolation, and possibly the neurological effect of Covid-19 found in a small sample of Covid-19 deaths.”

Senior coroner Andrew Cox said Mr Connelly-Webster had taken his own life following eight days of self-isolation.

He gave the cause of death as asphyxiation and recorded a verdict of suicide.

He noted police reports which had confirmed Jim had become “increasingly unstable and paranoid” before leaving a long and detailed letter for his wife, locking the chalet door and posting a message for her not to enter.

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

Retired Assistant Chief Constable James Connelly-Webster (Image: PlymouthLive/BPM)


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