Retired police chief with coronavirus killed himself while isolating from his family

Retired police chief Jim Webster took his own life while isolating due to coronavirus (reach)

A retired police chief took his own life after contracting coronavirus at the start of the pandemic, an inquest heard.

Jim Webster, 58, was found dead in a chalet at the bottom of his garden after self-isolating there to protect his wife and children.

He had returned from London to his home in Cornwall with symptoms of Covid-19 at the end of March, according to PlymouthLive.

After quarantining himself in his chalet, Webster was found dead on the morning of 1 April.

A former assistant chief constable, Webster had also been a commander with the Metropolitan Police as well as chief superintendent of Plymouth.

The inquest heard in a statement from his widow Maureen that he had developed a cough and fever so he decided to quarantine to protect her and their grown-up children Max and Robyn.

The couple had planned this course of action if either of them contracted coronavirus.

Throughout the quarantine, the inquest heard, the family held Zoom meetings and socially distanced meals, but they began to notice a deterioration in Webster's mental health.

Photo taken in Bude, United Kingdom

Maureen Webster said her husband "changed completely" during his isolation. She said he became "paranoid and neurotic" and that a six-page note found at his bedside outlined how he struggled in the last days of his life.

She said before those days Jim would often throw back the curtains each morning saying it was a "beautiful day" even when storm clouds crowded the sky.

However, the former police officer had become paranoid about what his local community of Crackington Haven, Bude, would think of him and the couple's standing in the community if one of them was seen out walking down at the nearby beach with their dog.

Mrs Webster said it was "not like him to think like this".

The night before his death the family had held a socially distanced supper together and during it Webster had tried to reassure the family that his "thinking was getting clearer and he would be out tomorrow", the eighth day of his isolation.

However, on the morning of 1 April his wife took a coffee to the chalet and found a signed pinned to the inside of the door saying "don't come in, phone the police".

She said: "I knew straight away. I was screaming 'no, no, no' because I couldn't get into the chalet and the door was locked from the inside."

After fetching a spare key from the house the couple's son, Max, found his father's body inside.

Attempts to perform CPR were futile and Webster was declared dead at the scene by an ambulance crew.

Mrs Webster said: "I believe that Jimbo, in his right mind, would not take his own life. He had spoken so much over the years, given his experiences as a copper, about the devastation left behind when someone commits suicide. It's just unthinkable that this would be his intention - however, there is no denying the fact.

"I think it was a perfect storm. The psychological effect of the COVID-19 environment – media, fear, lack of control – as he went into his self-isolation, and possibly the neurological effect of COVID-19 found in a small sample of Covid-19 deaths."

She said he had written about being a "bad guy" which she considered an "absolute nonsense".

Webster's son told in a statement how his father had spoken with him at around 9.30pm the night before his death, saying he was going to watch television before going to sleep, making plans for another Zoom meeting in the morning.

Read More From Yahoo News UK:

Workers should 'hesitate' before 'headlong rush into offices', says Prof Neil Ferguson

TV Licensing apologises after sending 'threatening' letter to dead woman

Pictures of the week: September 6 - 12
See Gallery
Pictures of the week: September 6 - 12
Naked activists holding placards during the Redress the Injustice Protest. Extinction Rebellion Fashion Action (XRFA) demonstrate outside the Topshop and Topman store on Oxford Street, opposing the fashion industry�s many human, animal and environmental injustices claiming that, it currently produces around 10\% of global carbon emissions. Its emissions are predicted to increase by around 50\% by 2030. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Artist Irek Jasutowicz works on a new mural of Leeds United soccer team manager Marcelo Bielsa near Hyde Park in Leeds, England Thursday Sept. 10, 2020. The West Yorkshire club will mark their return to the English Premier League after a 16-year wait with a trip to champions Liverpool on Saturday. (Danny Lawson/PA via AP)
EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Left to right) Fatima Bajwa and Jahanzeb Khan after tying the knot at the UK's first drive-through wedding service, launched by ride-hailing app, FREE NOW for couples whose own weddings have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, London.
Australia's captain Aaron Finch, left, and David Warner walk out to bat during the first ODI cricket match between England and Australia, at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Jon Super, Pool)
LONDON UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 11: People take part in a demonstration against Chinaâs persecution of Uighurs in Xinjiang in front of Chinese Embassy in London, United Kingdom on September 11, 2020. (Photo by Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
A view of the scene after a bus crashed into a railway bridge on Well House Lane, in Winchester, England, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. At least three children were taken to hospital with serious injuries. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)
A woman wearing a face mask looks at her mobile phone. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Young people out in Newcastle city centre at night. People in England will be banned from meeting in groups of more than six from Monday as ministers try to tackle the rising number of coronavirus cases across the UK.
The statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square is seen with graffiti reading 'is a racist' on the plinth, in London, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020.(AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
EU Chief negotiator Michel Barnier gestures as he leaves after a meeting at Westminster Conference Centre in London, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. UK and EU officials have their eighth round of Brexit negotiations in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A woman wearing a mask to protect against coronavirus, leaves a store, a day after the county borough of Caerphilly began a local lockdown following a "significant rise" in coronavirus cases, in Caerphilly, South Wales, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)
Police stopping a group of protesters in Whitehall near Downing Street joining other activists during the demonstration. Extinction Rebellion protesters in Parliament Square try to stop British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson getting from Downing Street to Parliament by sitting in the road outside. The activists use nonviolent means to put pressure on politicians to implement actions to slow down climate change. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Extinction Rebellion activists march along Parliament Street, as part of a climate change protest, in London, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.(AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
LONDON, Sept. 8, 2020 -- A woman wearing a face shield walks past the London Eye in London, Britain, Sept. 8, 2020. The latest British official figures showed Tuesday that COVID-19 death toll had hit 57,400 as British people are being urged to take the pandemic seriously or face "a bumpy road" ahead. (Photo by Han Yan/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Han Yan via Getty Images)
LONDON, Sept. 8, 2020 -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks back to 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, Sept. 8, 2020. Crucial talks aimed at finding a post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and the European Union (EU) opened Tuesday in London. Boris Johnson said Monday that he wants a post-Brexit trade deal agreed with EU by an Oct. 15 deadline, warning that a failure of that could mean London ending its EU membership with no deal. (Photo by Han Yan/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Han Yan via Getty Images)
Extinction Rebellion protesters wearing facemasks hold up protest placards outside Shell Tower in Waterloo, London. Extinction Rebellion are trying to step up the pressure on the fossil fuel giant to end destruction of ecosystems and communities around the world. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A HS2 Rebellion tree protector climbs a mature tree in Denham Country Park in order to try to prevent its felling as part of works for the HS2 high-speed rail link on 7 September 2020 in Denham, United Kingdom. Anti-HS2 activists continue to try to prevent or delay works on the controversial £106bn project for which the construction phase was announced on 4th September from a series of protection camps based along the route of the line between London and Birmingham. (photo by Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images)
A mural by street artist Van Jimmer on a Balfour Beatty hoarding in Lewisham, London. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange take part in a protest outside the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey in London, Monday, Sept. 7, 2020. Lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the U.S. government were squaring off in a London court on Monday at a high-stakes extradition case delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. American prosecutors have indicted the 49-year-old Australian on 18 espionage and computer misuse charges over the WikiLeaks publication of secret U.S. military documents a decade ago. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 08: A woman models a Rolling Stones face mask on sale during the Rolling Stones Carnaby Street store opening at RS No. 9 Carnaby on September 08, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Dawn over Coquet Island, a small island 1.2 kilometres off Amble on the Northumberland coast. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
Dolly the Chihuahua dog dressed as Alice in Wonderland is photographed during an Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed Furbabies Dog Pageant at Jodhpurs Riding School in Tockwith, North Yorkshire, Sunday Sept. 6, 2020. (Danny Lawson/PA via AP)
A protester wears a blue outfit to represent the ocean during the demonstration. The groups of Extinction Rebellion Marine, Ocean Rebellion, Sea Life Extinction and Animal Rebellion marched in London in a �socially distanced grief march� to demand protection for the oceans and in protest against global governmental inaction to save the seas due to climate breakdown and human interference, and the loss of lives, homes and livelihoods from rising sea levels. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A police launch passes an Extinction Rebellion Marine rib boat on the River Thames during the Extinction Rebellion Macabre Beach Party. A beach party (on grass) next to the River Thames was held by the Extinction Rebellion Marine supporters to highlight the dangers of the extreme weather caused by climate change and sound an alarm for the urgent need to take action now to avert catastrophic flooding in London, the UK and the whole world. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
England's Dawid Malan bats during the second Twenty20 cricket match between England and Australia, at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, England, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020. (Dan Mullan/Pool via AP)
A police forensics officer taking photographs in Irving Street, in Birmingham after a number of people were stabbed in the city centre, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020. British police say that multiple people have been injured in a series of stabbings in a busy nightlife area of the central England city of Birmingham.(Jacob King/PA via AP)
Commuters arriving at Leeds railway station. Train services will be ramped up from today as schools in England and Wales reopen and workers are encouraged to return to offices. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 06: Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan of England talk following their victory during the second Vitality International Twenty20 match between England and Australia at The Ageas Bowl on September 06, 2020 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
LEIGH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 06: Kirsty Smith of Manchester United Women tackles Guro Reiten of Chelsea Women during the Barclays FA Women's Super League at Leigh Sports Village on September 06, 2020 in Leigh, England. (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images)
A general view inside the room where the Manchester Arena Inquiry will be held, at Manchester Magistrates Court, Manchester. The inquiry will investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 22 people following the attack on May 22, 2017. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)

He said his father "did not have any mental health issues" before contracting what was believed to be the coronavirus, but since he had begun to self-isolate "he had become increasingly unstable - he had become paranoid, anxious, reclusive and at the best of his ability, given his situation, controlling".

"We were saying that throughout the week he had become unstable and this was the first time we had ever seen him behave like this.

"Of course, we have no idea the extent of his mental degradation."

Webster joined the police at 18 working for the Metropolitan Police, then as head of CID in Exeter, and as Plymouth Police Commander before returning to the Metropolitan Police for a promotion.

He flew between London and Cornwall each week.

The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide.

Today (10 September) is World Suicide Prevention Day. To find out more, click here.

For confidential support in the UK call the Samaritans on 116123, visit a local Samaritans branch, or click here for details

This article originally appeared on Yahoo

Read Full Story Click here to comment