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RESPECTED OFFICER HAD FOUGHT DEPRESSION FOR YEARS; Coroner rules on tragedy.

Byline: SOPHIE BARLEY sophie.barley@eveninggazette.co.uk

THE head of crime at Cleveland Police killed himself by jumping off a railway viaduct after years of battling depression.

Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Swinson, 47, suffered from paranoia and anxiety and feared that he may lose his job.

The devoted husband and dad-of-two suffered multiple fractures, including to his skull, when he jumped to his death in Yarm in March last year.

An inquest at Teesside Coroner's Court was attended by members of Mr Swinson's family including his wife Susan and members of the police force.

Mr Swinson, from Yarm, described as a "respected and outstanding police officer", suffered recurring bouts of depression and had already tried to kill himself in 1993, the court heard.

He tried hard to cure himself - taking anti-depressants and looking at different self-help techniques.

At the time of his death he was off work due to his depression.

Mrs Swinson, 46, told the inquest that her husband found his job stressful and had been worrying that he may lose his job. However the then Temporary Chief Constable, Jacqui Cheer, had visited him and reassured him that his job was safe.

A month before his death Mr Swinson voluntarily went to hospital to receive help.

After treatment he was released to go home with input from the community health nursing team.

Mr Swinson then spoke to Tees, Esk and Wear Valley (TEWV) NHS Foundation Trust mental health nurse Nick Lovett the day before he died.

Mr Lovett, who spoke to Mr Swinson for 50 minutes on the phone, then visited him for more than an hour.

Mrs Swinson, a nurse, questioned Mr Lovett about his treatment of her husband.

"Why didn't you take my comments more seriously, knowing I was a nurse? I told you how agitated and unwell he had been," Mr Lovett replied: "I did take it seriously."

A follow-up appointment had been made for nine days later after a planned family break in the Lake District.

The night before his death, Mr Swinson had spoken to his father-in-law Laurence Watson about his fears.

Mr Watson, a retired police officer, said he tried to reassure him that everything would be OK.

The next morning Mr Watson had driven Mr Swinson into Eaglescliffe and Mr Swinson said he was going to walk into Yarm "to get some exercise".

Instead he went to the railway bridge over the River Tees where he jumped from a viaduct. The tragic moment was witnessed by a conductor of a train which was passing at the time.

Following the inquest Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer said Mr Swinson was a "well liked and respected officer". She added: "Our thoughts continue to be with his family and friends."

A spokesperson for TEWV NHS Foundation Trust said: "We understand how distressing this must be for Mr Swinson's family and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

"We would encourage Mrs Swinson to get in touch with us to discuss any concerns she may still have about the care and treatment of her late husband."

Coroner Michael Sheffield recorded a verdict of suicide at the hearing yesterday.

CAPTION(S):

COVERAGE: Our story after Det Chief Supt Swinson's funeral

SCENE: The railway viaduct where the tragic incident took place

DEVOTED: Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Swinson, right
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Feb 14, 2013
Words:552
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