A retired Assistant Chief Constable, who was a suspected COVID-19 patient, was found dead in the guesthouse next to his home after being forced into self-isolation.
According to the reports, 58-year-old James Connelly-Webster became “paranoid and neurotic” after his separation from his family.
In a bid to protect his wife, Maureen, and their children, the retired police veteran quarantined himself at the guesthouse in his family’s garden.
As James’s wife told the inquest, her husband self-isolated after suspecting he could be infected with coronavirus due to symptoms like fever and cough.
While the family remained connected to James via video calls, the retired police chief’s mental health quickly began to deteriorate until he “changed completely” and became “paranoid” and worried about what people passing by their home might think.
On the 8th day of his quarantine, James allegedly spoke to his family members to reassure them that he was getting better. The next morning, however, he was found dead with a six-page letter detailing his struggles next to his body.
“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,” Maureen expressed.
“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.”
As the retired policeman’s son, Max, added, his father didn’t suffer from any mental health problems prior to developing what he believed to be Covid-19.
According to the son, James “had become increasingly unstable – he had become paranoid, anxious, reclusive and at the best of his ability, given his situation, controlling” amid his self-isolation.
While Max admitted they could “have no idea the extent of his mental degradation,” he insisted that the family had never seen the 58-year-old behave like that before.
May he rest in peace.
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