Police chief under "lewd remarks" investigation took own life
1:20pm Wednesday 13th June 2012 in North Wilts news
A POLICE chief who was being investigated over allegations of lewd remarks to female colleagues, took his own life a coroner has ruled.
Deputy Chief Constable of Wiltshire David Ainsworth was found by his partner hanging in the garage at his home in Potterne on March 22 last year.
Fighting tears, Jo Howes said he believed the allegations had already been dealt with and was surprised when he was told in September 2010 that there would be an inquiry.
Mr Ainsworth, who became deputy in 2008, had applied to become Chief Constable of Bedfordshire but had to withdraw.
When the investigation started he was moved from headquarters and worked at Marlborough before being seconded to the forensic science service.
Then in 2011 he was told that his previous service in Kent would also be examined.
Ms Howes said: "He felt abandoned by a police service he had devoted his life to. He felt he had been made into a pariah."
His estranged wife Emma described a phone call she received from him in February that year.
"He sounded quite panicky and upset and said things were not going well. He said he had thoughts of harming himself. I said: ‘Do you mean you would take your own life?’ and he said: ‘Yes.’"
In March he told her he feared civil cases against him and wanted to sign the house over to her to protect it.
A few days later he visited his children in Kent. "David was just a shell of what he had been. The children were visibly shocked to the point they didn’t know what to say to him. Physically he looked ill and needed to be in hospital."
Coroner David Ridley said he would look at what welfare support was offered to Mr Ainsworth.
Clinical psychologist Max Kite said the officer felt he was being pursued.
In February last year, when he received witness statements detailing the allegations he was upset.
"He was for the first time aware of the possibility that he could have caused other people a great deal of offence and hurt by his behaviour. I think he was very sad about that," said Mr Kite.
Mr Ainsworth went on sick leave on March 10.
Det Supt Alex Drummond from Gloucestershire Police, who investigated the death, examined his personal computer and discovered he had viewed suicide websites on five occasions, the first hours after meeting with his barrister on February 25 to discuss the witness statements.
The coroner ruled he took his own life while suffering from depression.
As a result of complaints, the Independent Police Complaints Commission is to look into the investigation by South Wales Police of the sexual harassment allegations.