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SUICIDE: Cop haunted by gunpoint ordeal, inquest told
A POLICE officer who stabbed himself to death suffered from depression that could have been linked to him being taken hostage years earlier.
Andrew Reid, 49, pictured right, had served for many years as a policeman in Oxford.
An inquest yesterday heard that he was taken hostage on February 6, 1995 and pistol-whipped.
Coroner Nicholas Graham said yesterday that the depression that eventually led him to end his life may have been connected with this incident.
Thames Valley Police yesterday hailed the officer, who was later nominated for a bravery award, as a “dedicated” member of the force.
In the incident, which was covered on the front page of the Oxford Mail, PC Reid and two other officers were injured after disturbing a gang of burglars.
He suffered psychological and mental anguish afterwards, the inquest heard.
Mr Reid was found dead by his mother in the house they shared shortly after 8am on May 21.
He was lying near his bike in a utility room, next to a six-inch kitchen knife.
His mother, who also suffered from depression, phoned 999.
Speaking at the inquest at Oxford Coroners Court, pathologist Nicholas Hunt described how Mr Reid had stab wounds which punctured his heart and severed his aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body.
Mr Reid’s GP Mervin Dunlop provided a statement for the inquest saying Mr Reid had first complained of low moods, going back 20 years, in August 2011.
He was prescribed anti-depressants, but by December that year he had stopped taking them.
Mr Reid had served with Thames Valley Police for 31 years.
His colleague, Det Sgt Simon Hannam, said that following the hostage situation in 1995, Pc Reid had been offered occupational therapy, and his mental health was assessed throughout his service.
He said neighbours described Mr Reid as a quiet, shy man who kept himself to himself.
Mr Reid’s father Ian said in a statement how in the last few weeks of his life his son had seemed anxious and complained of being unable to sleep.
Coroner Nicholas Graham said: “On the basis of the evidence I have heard, I feel I can reach the conclusion that Mr Reid took his own life.
“I came to that conclusion from the nature of his own injuries, the lack of any third party involvement and a history of depression.
“He may have suffered from depression after an incident where he was taken hostage.”
Mr Reid’s family declined to comment after the inquest.
In a statement from Thames Valley Police yesterday, Oxford local area commander Christian Bunt said: “It was with deep sadness that I had to inform my colleagues about the death of retired Pc Andrew Reid in May this year.
“Pc Reid gave more than 30 years’ dedicated service to the force, and for that we are extremely grateful. He served a significant part of his service at Oxford and also with the Roads Policing Unit. His most recent position was on the Cowley Neighbourhood Team.
“On a personal note, I was Pc Reid’s Sergeant at Oxford. During my time working with Pc Reid, I found he was a very competent and committed police officer, as well as being a well-respected member of the community.
“Our thoughts are with Pc Reid’s family at this time.”
FLASHBACK TO FEBRUARY 1995
The Oxford Mail reported the incident in which Pc Reid was taken hostage on our front page on February 7, 1995.
Three policemen were badly injured after they disturbed a gang of burglars at a house in Oxford.
The officers were taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford with face and head injuries, one with severe eye injuries.
The police were attacked as they investigated a burglary at a house in Kestrel Crescent, Blackbird Leys, at 10.30pm on February 6.
It emerged yesterday that Pc Reid had been pistol whipped during the siege, and suffered psychological and mental anguish.
The inquest heard that in 1998, one of the burglars said he wanted to meet Pc Reid to apologise, but the offer was refused.
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