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Suffolk inquest records death as suicide

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An inquest into the death of a senior Suffolk CC officer has heard that he took his own life after being under intense pressure at the council, according to agency reports.

David White, who was head of legal service at the council, was found hanging in Butley Woods, near Woodbridge earlier this year.

He had recently taken the post on a permanent basis and was part of a team overseeing substantial cuts to the authority’s budget.     

In a suicide note to the council’s chief executive, Andrea Hill, he said he was “unable to cope with the demands being placed” on him, the inquest heard.

The note, read out at the inquest, said: “Dear Andrea, I just wanted you to know that my death is not in any way or sense directed at you personally or meant as a comment on your leadership of the council or the new strategic direction. It is simply that I have been unable to cope with the demands being placed upon me.”

Eric Whitfield, who was assistant director of scrutiny and monitoring at the council but left shortly before Mr White’s death, said Mr White had raised concerns with him about the propriety of some cost cutting decisions.

In particular he felt a consultation on libraries was conducted on the basis the council would retain 15 when it had been decided only eight would remain open.

His death prompted an inquiry by the council. The council also investigated anonymous whistle blowing allegations about chief executive Andrea Hill’s management conduct. Ms Hill was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Ms Hill left the authority with immediate effect after brokering a deal in which she will be paid £218,592 compensation.

Senior council figures from all three parties admitted the size of the pay-off would not be welcomed by residents, but said the decision for her to go was right.

 

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