Tragic Leeds cop ‘feared jail’

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A SUSPENDED police sergeant who hanged himself feared jail and losing his home after being arrested and suspended in an insurance fraud investigation, a Leeds inquest heard.

Coroner David Hinchcliff said Simon Jenkinson, 31, probably also feared for his relationship with his fiance and clearly recognised the “enormity of his situation” having told people he planned to plead guilty to “serious offences” and recognised he faced problems in prison as a shamed officer.

After being arrested on Monday July 26 2010, a routine risk assessment at Wakefield’s Wood Street police station, found no signs he was likely to harm himself and his Police Federation representative was called, Custody Sgt Daniel Tillet told the inquest.

After interviews by Professional Standards detectives in the presence of his Federation representative he was returned to his cell. When Sgt Tillet went off duty at 3pm Sgt Jenkinson showed no signs of depression.

The next day Sgt Tillet was told Sgt Jenkinson had been taken to hospital. He had told officers he had swallowed tablets found in his mattress and producing a rope made from his blanket claimed he had tried to strangle himself. No injuries were found and he was returned to custody. Later he was bailed and suspended from duty that evening.

But in statements after his death Sgt Jenkinson’s fiance, Katy Wild with whom he shared a home and his brother, Stephen Jenkinson, said he told them he had attempted to take his life in the cell and showed her a burn mark on his neck. He told her he intended to plead guilty to offences. She told police she was worried.

Stephen Bell then Federation representative - now retired - said that after the first day’s interview he was concerned for the situation the officer faced, but Sgt Jenkinson showed now signs of harming himself and rejected such suggestions. He got him a pizza supper

The following day -Tuesday - at Wood Street an embarrassed St Jenkinson denied the story he had told officers.

“I put it down to his not thinking straight,” said Mr Bell.

When Sgt Jenkinson was bailed efforts were made to ensure his welfare, He said he just wanted to go home to bed,

Still concerned, Mr Bell drove him and insisted he ring his brother. When they arrived Sgt Jenkinson promised to call his family, but insisted Mr Bell leave. He called the North East Divisional Duty Inspector to be alert in case of any calls to Sgt Jenkinson’s address.

The next day - Wednesday he was reassured when Sgt Jenkinson telephoned from his brother’s Derbyshire home.

Sgt Jenkinson said he would return to his Leeds home ready for a Thursday meeting with his solicitor, Mr Bell and detectives. Mr Bell arranged to pick-up Sgt Jenkinson at 1.30pm but when he arrived at 1.15pm he got no answer. He could hear dogs barking and contacted neighbours and Sgt Jenkinson’s brother. The door was closed but unlocked and inside he found Sgt Jenkinson suspended from the loft hatch. He repeatedly tried without success to revive him.

In his statement Stephen Jenkinson said he had driven his brother to his home in Derbyshire.

When asked about the fraud allegations, Simon said he had hidden a lap-top in his loft, but was not responsible for a burglary at his home and attacks to his cars.

A CID investigation of the death found no suspicious circumstances.

Graham Pearce of KPMG

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