Head of crime at Cleveland Police took his own life after struggling with depression, an inquest heard

Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Swinson

Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Swinson

First published in News
Last updated
Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

A SENIOR police officer threw himself from a railway viaduct less than 24 hours after speaking to a mental health community team, an inquest heard.

Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Swinson, the head of crime at Cleveland Police, had battled with depression for almost 20 years and was receiving treatment at the time of his death.

Today (Wednesday, February 13), Teesside Coroner’s Court heard that the father-of-two died from multiple fractures after he jumped from the viaduct, near Yarm high street, in March last year.

His widow, Susan, raised concerns over the quality of treatment her husband received from Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust’s mental health nurse Nick Lovett.

The inquest heard how the Stockton-based nurse spoke to Mr Swinson for 50 minutes on the phone the day before he died, then visited him for over an hour.

Mr Swinson’s widow, a 46-year-old nurse, told the inquest Mr Lovett should have taken more notice of her concerns for 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,” she said.

Mr Lovett replied: “I did take it seriously.”

An appointment had been made to see him again in nine days, after Mr Swinson had been on a family break to the Lake District.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Kenneth Mitchell, who had treated Mr Swinson, said the officer had previously tried to kill himself in 1993 through a combination of a drug overdose and carbon monoxide poisoning.

The inquest heard that on the day of his death Mr Swinson was almost hit by a train after making his way to the railway viaduct in Yarm.

The driver, Matthew Martin, told how he saw Mr Swinson crouched down next to the rail track and as the train approached he stood up and waved at him.

The concerned driver slammed on the brakes and asked the conductor, Stephen Taylor, to look out of the rear window.

Mr Taylor told how he saw Mr Swinson sitting on the side of the viaduct before easing himself over the edge.

Mrs Swinson arrived at the scene soon after, having been worried by not being able to contact her husband.

In a statement read out in court, she said: “The hardest part of the day was telling the children what had happened to their dad. I don’t know how I got through the day but I did.”

Coroner Michael Sheffield recorded a verdict that Mr Swinson killed himself.

Speaking after the hearing, a spokesperson for Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, said: “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.”

Assistant Chief Constable Sean White said: “The coroner’s inquest today has provided a more complete understanding of the tragic events that led to the loss of our friend and highly respected colleague Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Swinson.

“I hope in particular that Stewart’s family can take something from today’s inquiry.

“He made an outstanding contribution to policing over three decades.”

Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer said: “Stewart was well liked and respected by everyone who knew him and worked with him, and we were all saddened by his sudden death.

“Our thoughts continue to be with his family and friends.”

Comments (7)

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7:25pm Wed 13 Feb 13

maur1 says...

god how sad is this where was any help for him... we are all human in his job he needed the help
god how sad is this where was any help for him... we are all human in his job he needed the help maur1
  • Score: 1

7:37pm Wed 13 Feb 13

maur1 says...

i hope people learn by this mrs swinson god bless u , hard on a family , ur husband must been under a lot pressure very hard on you your family stressfull jobs should have a lot more help to cope thinking of u ur family xxxxx
i hope people learn by this mrs swinson god bless u , hard on a family , ur husband must been under a lot pressure very hard on you your family stressfull jobs should have a lot more help to cope thinking of u ur family xxxxx maur1
  • Score: 1

8:00pm Wed 13 Feb 13

DOGLAWRENCE says...

Help is hard to get I have had Depression for 35 years since I was 20 and unless I Self Harm and live afterwards . I am not eligible for Mental .Health.Support so my life is Hell on Earth , having to Rely on my two Dogs to keep me Going
Help is hard to get I have had Depression for 35 years since I was 20 and unless I Self Harm and live afterwards . I am not eligible for Mental .Health.Support so my life is Hell on Earth , having to Rely on my two Dogs to keep me Going DOGLAWRENCE
  • Score: 0

9:05am Thu 14 Feb 13

maur1 says...

dog insist your doc gets you some help,surely if ur self harming someone should pick that up and get you some help.we all go through bad patches but urs seems long time .
dog insist your doc gets you some help,surely if ur self harming someone should pick that up and get you some help.we all go through bad patches but urs seems long time . maur1
  • Score: 1

10:59am Thu 14 Feb 13

DOGLAWRENCE says...

maur1 wrote:
dog insist your doc gets you some help,surely if ur self harming someone should pick that up and get you some help.we all go through bad patches but urs seems long time .
Am not Self Harming at Present but worried to Death in case have to leave House and have to give up my Dogs who keep me Sane .
Doc same as M.H.S until you Self Harm no help is available isn't that Good of the N.H.S
[quote][p][bold]maur1[/bold] wrote: dog insist your doc gets you some help,surely if ur self harming someone should pick that up and get you some help.we all go through bad patches but urs seems long time .[/p][/quote]Am not Self Harming at Present but worried to Death in case have to leave House and have to give up my Dogs who keep me Sane . Doc same as M.H.S until you Self Harm no help is available isn't that Good of the N.H.S DOGLAWRENCE
  • Score: 0

3:39pm Thu 14 Feb 13

maur1 says...

anyone depressed should be able to get help,without having to self harm,its sad to read suicide when it could be avoided .people in stressfull jobs should have someone to talk too .
anyone depressed should be able to get help,without having to self harm,its sad to read suicide when it could be avoided .people in stressfull jobs should have someone to talk too . maur1
  • Score: 1

1:21pm Fri 15 Feb 13

ian923 says...

What on earth were Cleveland Police thinking about by putting this man into the head of CID post a very stressful one.?
What on earth were Cleveland Police thinking about by putting this man into the head of CID post a very stressful one.? ian923
  • Score: 0

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