Officer committed suicide over ‘blame’ for his girlfriend`s death

A guilt-ridden retired detective who killed himself a month after his fellow officer girlfriend hanged herself had been arrested for having indecent images, an inquest heard.

Jul 11, 2017

A guilt-ridden retired detective who killed himself a month after his fellow officer girlfriend hanged herself had been arrested for having indecent images, an inquest heard. Ex-Detective Sergeant Shaun Keen’s life fell apart when he found Police Constable Kimberley James dead at home in July 2016 – the day after he ended their year-long relationship. Mr Keen, who retired from Devon and Cornwall Police in April last year blamed himself for her death. His friend, Richard Pascoe, said he was a “man in crisis” after finding her body. Another officer who attended the scene found Mr Keen, 49, “in a hysterical state, rocking from side to side”, Truro Coroner’s Court was told. Police Constable Steve Harley said: “I recognised he was suffering from a massive guilt complex.” Shortly after PC James died, the father-of-one was arrested for allegedly having indecent images on his phone — but was never charged. Days later he took his own life, dying from carbon monoxide poisoning in his car parked at his brother Wayne`s home in Camborne, Cornwall. His brother, 54, told the inquest Mr Keen vowed to kill himself if the case came to court because he would have let his family down. “He was extremely dark, extremely depressed after the arrest,” said the brother. “He said he would take his own life if it came to court but promised myself and my wife that he wouldn`t do it otherwise.” The coroner heard that Mr Keen had battled with a number of issues after leaving the force – including breaking up with his wife and struggling financially. But the sports fanatic and medal-winning international triathlete fell into a deep depression after he found PC James hanging at her home following a row. In a statement to the inquest, Mr Pascoe said he had spoken to Mr Keen on the day of his death – and he was a “man in crisis”. “He talked about Kim`s death,” he said. “He felt under a lot of pressure and felt responsible. He felt in some ways he was to blame. “Shaun was a very private person however, this was the most open I had seen him. He seemed close to tears although I never saw him cry.” An earlier inquest heard that PC James – who won a police bravery award for rescuing a drowning mother and her children in 2015 – died after suffering management bullying and high workloads. She had also struggled with her ongoing divorce. The coroner at the time returned an open conclusion saying no suicide note or other evidence of intention was found. She and Shaun met in 2015 and had a good relationship but the day before her death he had stormed out – ending the relationship. When he returned the next day, he found mother-of-two PC James hanging. PC Harley told the Truro inquest on Monday (July 10): “I recognise he [Shaun] was suffering from a massive guilt complex.” A statement by Mr Keen`s ex-wife, Elaine, was also read out at the inquest. She said that following PC James’ death, she went to the doctor with her ex-husband. “I thought he was suicidal,” the statement read. “Shaun said to the doctor when he found her [Kim] he felt like doing the same. “I`m absolutely devastated by what Shaun had done. “I think we would have had a future together if he had just held on.” Recording a verdict of suicide, Cornwall senior coroner Dr Emma Carlyon said: “He was suffering from significant social stresses at the time of his death.” A force spokesperson told Police Professional: “Our thoughts and condolences remain with the family and loved ones of Shaun Keen at this difficult time.”

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