North East Wales

West Mercia officer found hanged had 'horrible experiences'

Wrexham Maelor Hospital

A police sergeant who was found hanged while a patient in a psychiatric unit had "horrible experiences" in his line of work, an inquest has heard.

The hearing in Ruthin was told Lee Johnson was under investigation for alleged misconduct.

The 45-year-old father of two twice spoke of hanging himself at his home in Pantymwyn and had been admitted as a voluntary patient to Heddfan at Wrexham Maelor, the inquest heard.

The hearing is due to resume on Friday.

Sgt Johnson died at the hospital on 13 February last year.

Clinical psychologist Emma Evans said he spoke openly about his mother's suicide, his traumatic childhood and experiences in the RAF and police, and the fact that he was under investigation for alleged misconduct.

But he was reluctant to discuss his drink problem despite often feeling suicidal under the influence of alcohol, she said.

Sgt Johnson was serving in the West Mercia Force based in Oswestry and was a popular officer well-known for his Twitter account in which he mixed police appeals with snippets of humour.

His wife Barbara, a police officer in the North Wales force, described him as "a very focused, kind person" who struggled to cope with the stresses of his job.

'Place of safety'

She said Heddfan was regarded as "the final straw" but her husband seemed keen to go along with anything which would help him.

"I thought it was a positive step because it was a place of safety," she said.

Consultant psychiatrist Nafisa Hussein described him as "a model patient", adding: "He seemed quite happy to be in hospital and happy to engage with anything that would help him. He was very open about discussing harming himself."

Dr Evans told the inquest she too felt he genuinely wanted to make changes in his life which would be for the better, but was concerned about his future both in and out of the force.

She said: "It was clear to me it was not going to be resolved overnight."

The inquest continues.

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